Bicton Park, Devon
TFQ were commissioned to refurbish and extend a group of existing buildings on the Bicton College Home Farm campus, to facilitate the EaRTH (environment and renewable technologies hub) project. EaRTH was conceived as a centre of excellence for the training, development, learning and integration of a range of renewable technologies into both the community and the renewables industry.
In tandem with providing the facilities to deliver this training resource, the buildings have been carefully refurbished and altered to demonstrate the exemplar integration of these technologies into built form whilst also allowing for the core passive principles which we believe should underpin any sustainable development.
The EaRTH centre consists of a series of renewable technologies teaching spaces, interpretation centre display and seminar space together with office administration areas and student ancillary spaces all housed within two refurbished existing buildings. These are united by a ‘green’ new-build link building which provides an ease of transition between the two differing building levels.
The spatial programme largely resides within the refurbished building fabric that serves as a learning tool by demonstrating renewable technologies and passive design techniques which service and underpin the buildings operations. We implemented a principle of exposed construction in various areas of the build, with 'cutaways' showing the construction build-up and materials used in areas such as walls and floors, this resulted in a building which in itself was an educational tool.
The use of passive strategies to reduce the energy demand for a building is a fundamental concept which provides an important element of our approach to the design process. The EaRTH centre project is a successful built demonstration of how these principles can be used to great effect and how architecture can respond to its context in terms of orientation, topography, climate, wind patterns and sun path.