The Centre for Alternative Technology has been awarded a prestigious architecture award for the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education.
The judges said: “The word ’sustainability’ is frequently used; this project not only lives up to the Centre’s mission but does so with a quiet confidence. Many such buildings flaunt their green credentials; this building doesn’t and is a delight as a result.”
CAT’s External Relations Director Paul Allen said: “Winning such a prestigious award shows that sustainable building methods are breaking into the mainstream. The WISE building demonstrates many cutting edge low energy building techniques and we are delighted that the RIBA have recognised CAT’s pioneering approach to architecture by giving us this award.”
The purpose of CAT’s WISE building is to provide thousands of people the opportunity to learn about environmental topics, from organic gardening to renewable energy and green architecture, in an inspiring environment.
The WISE building features many innovative sustainability features. Throughout the construction, low embodied building materials such as earth and hemp were used. Building materials have been sourced locally; the rammed earth lecture theatre is made using soil from a nearby disused quarry. The building has energy-efficient glazing to enhance natural day lighting and passive heat gain, making energy requirements minimal. Every stage of construction was monitored to calculate the environmental footprint – from the materials used to the daily journey to work made by those working on WISE. Environmental monitoring will continue throughout the building’s life.
The building itself consists of:
* A circular 200 seat rammed earth lecture theatre.
* 24 en suite study bedrooms fitted with energy monitoring equipment.
* New toilet facilities with natural zero energy treatment of grey water and sewage.
* Plant and server rooms for the monitoring of energy and water usage in the building.
* Seminar rooms and workshops.
* Offices, common rooms and reception areas.
* Research laboratory.
* Restaurant and bar – promoting the importance of sustainable land use, food miles and a healthy diet.
* Uniquely designed organic gardens.
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