WISE Building

WISE Building

WISE Building, exterior

Architect: David Lea and Pat Borer Architects

Client: Centre for Alternative Technology

Photographer: Tim Soar

WISE is constructed of materials with low embodied energy: glulam timber frame, hemcrete walls, rammed earth, lime renders, slate, cork, home-grown timber flooring and finishes of natural paints and stains. It is well insulated and airtight with heat recovery systems, and solar tube arrays and photo-voltaics on the roof. It is also connected to a bio-fuel combined heat and power plant.

The naturally ventilated accommodation is arranged round courtyards and includes a restaurant, bar, foyer and 200 seat lecture theatre, offices, teaching rooms and 24 en-suite bedrooms.

Today the word sustainability is often glibly used; this project not only lives up to the centre's mission but does so with a quiet confidence.  Many such buildings ram home their credentials; this building doesn’t and as a result is a delight. 

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