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The site in Woking was gifted to WWF-UK, by the local council, on the condition that the existing public car park was maintained. The design team evaluated several ways of doing this; bearing in mind access, site levels, impact on the local environment and costs. Rather than constructing a separate building or excavating a basement for the car park (albeit tempting to hide the cars!) the decision was taken to locate the new building over a modernised ground level car park. This approach minimised the overall height of construction and avoided transporting large quantities of excavated material off site.

The Living Planet Centre achieved the highest BREEAM rating of “Outstanding” within the budget of a responsible charity and is an exemplar office development meeting the environmental aspirations of WWF’s employees and its supporters.

The building design is an elegant and rational response to the car park restraints, and pays particular attention to the standardisation of elements and maximising environmental performance. The structure is an efficient two storey in-situ reinforced concrete frame (as long as a football pitch) standing over the public car park with a 30m clear span timber diagrid roof enclosing the office space. The repetitive nature of the roof structure facilitated the offsite manufacture of a ‘kit of parts’ thereby reducing the onsite assembly time and material wastage.

See also this article which featured in The Structural Engineer magazine (PDF, 1.8MB)

“The Living Planet Centre is at the forefront of sustainable design and construction and creates a harmonious link between the urban and rural environment.” BCO Innovation Award 2015.

Andrew Weir
Fred Labbé

Client: WWF-UK

Architect: Hopkins Architects

Project Value: £12m

Status: Completed 2013

WWF Living Planet Centre, Surrey