On 1 November 2013 WWF-UK’s new Living Planet Centre will be officially opened by one of its ambassadors, Sir David Attenborough, before opening to the public in late November.
The Living Planet Centre, in Woking, Surrey, UK, has the highest ‘green’ building credentials and features an innovative “WWF Experience” and Learning Zone where visitors and schoolchildren can discover more about WWF’s global conservation work.
Some 300 WWF staff are now based at the Woking HQ, connecting with colleagues worldwide from the UK hub of the charity’s international network.
“It’s a fantastic eco-building that shows not only how it’s possible to use our planet’s resources wisely, but also helps us all connect with the natural world and brings WWF’s vital work around the globe to life for us, right here and now,” said Sir David.
“As WWF’s new home, the Living Planet Centre allows us to open our doors and invite visitors of all ages in for the first time ever,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK.
“I think this will help people really connect with our place in the natural world, and the vital conservation work they help us to fund. But our passion for nature has to be matched by a commitment to use the planet’s resources sustainably, and we can now practise what we preach from a building that shows what can be achieved when we are determined. That’s vital as we focus on making real impact in our work – we want a world with a future where people and nature thrive, and we’ve got big ambitions. Just two examples: by 2018 we want to safeguard ten of the world’s most iconic and threatened species, and we’re intending to increase significantly the area of forests and oceans that are properly protected and managed. These are huge challenges, but we’re looking forward to tackling them.”
The building: the Living Planet Centre, designed for WWF-UK by Hopkins Architects and Expedition Engineering, sits on a raised platform beneath an overarching curved roof. Behind its visitor centre the building opens to a two-storey workspace centred on a full height atrium.
Constructed by Willmott Dixon with a specialist team committed to the highest standards of sustainable construction, WWF’s new 3600m2 building is well on course to achieve the highest level of environmental performance, BREEAM Outstanding status.
The Living Planet Centre’s 80m arched diagrid roof features photovoltaic panels for solar energy and extensive glass to maximise natural light; four specially-designed recycled aluminium wind cowls provide natural ventilation as air circulates through the building. The water management system includes rainwater harvesting and recycling; ground-source heat pumps mean less energy is used for heating or cooling the building, and there is extensive use of sustainable technologies.
Importantly, the materials used in construction were sourced responsibly, with recycled materials where possible: all wood for the Living Planet Centre comes from responsibly managed forests and some of the refurbished technology was originally used to power the London 2012 Games. The story of the building and its ongoing environmental performance are featured in the visitor centre.