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Arup helps deliver White Collar Factory, to inspire the office of the future

A pioneering new workplace has been officially launched in London’s technology hub campus, Old Street Yard, by Derwent London.

White Collar Factory at Old Street roundabout, London
White Collar Factory at Old Street roundabout, London

"This building is highly adaptive, as well as being inexpensive and easy to maintain. This has been testament to the client, design and construction teams’ adherence to the original principles throughout the course of the design and construction of the project."

Designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris together with Arup, White Collar Factory is intended to act as a blueprint for future workplace design. Arup provided building and engineering services (mechanical, electrical, public health and facade) and consultancy (sustainability, acoustics, ICT & digital, fire safety and lighting).

White Collar Factory, a sixteen-storey multi-let tower, topped by a 150 metre rooftop running track and terrace, is one of six buildings making up the Old Street Yard campus. An early ‘office of the future study’ carried out by Derwent London and the design team established the key basic principles for the office and led to a working prototype.

A team from Arup spent twelve months using the prototype to explore ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of the building.  The result is a building that relies less on mechanical air condition systems and more on the design of the buildings structure, materials and the use of digital technology to engage its users. White Collar Factory delivers annual energy savings of up to 33 per cent and a 25 per cent reduction in its carbon foot print. The 27,200m2 building was delivered at between 15-20 per cent less capital cost than comparable office developments.

The building is also designed to adapt to changing climate. With cities increasingly facing more extreme weather events due to climate change, Arup looked at the impact of different climate scenarios on heating and air conditioning consumption to ensure resilience was built into the final design.

The key design features are:

  • High performing structure and façade: The façade offers thermal and solar protection, with the proportion of glazing varying to suit the buildings needs and the sun’s orientation - with more glazing to the north and north east, and less to the west and south.  The concrete structure itself is exposed to absorb heat gains from people, lights and computers throughout the day.

  • Concrete cooling: Cooling is provided by a concrete core cooling system, containing chilled water pipes embedded in the concrete slab. This solution enhances the natural effect of the thermal mass to regulate internal temperatures and provide radiant cooling.

  • Natural ventilation: Windows can be opened throughout the building and a digital traffic light system provides guidance on optimal times to open and close them. The building’s mechanical ventilation system is shut off when windows are opened to improve conditions inside.  These ‘green days’ are prompted by a traffic light system to give users the choice.  Booster cooling for very hot days is provided which is also controlled by the occupant rather than pre-set by a central system.

  • Digital connectivity:  The building is designed to meet the highest level of digital resilience and capability to cater for today’s IT working environment.  This has led to more interactive features of the building. For example, the lighting, cooling, heating, ventilation and metering - traditionally separated - are all on the landlord’s IT network so that energy and environmental data can be easily collected, analysed and fed to users and building managers for direct feedback. The data is also accessible to be used via third party applications.

White Collar Factory has achieved the highest sustainability assessment ratings of BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum - within a normal construction budget and relying on these passive measures rather than add-on technologies.

[p"This building is highly adaptive, as well as being inexpensive and easy to maintain. This has been testament to the client, design and construction teams’ adherence to the original principles throughout the course of the design and construction of the project. We are pleased that Arup has been able to be an integral part of this journey from ideas to building completion across a breath of services and specialisms. This is a blueprint for the future of office buildings and shows it is possible to make buildings flexible, sustainable and innovative in a cost effective way. ”[/p]

- Michael Stych Director, Arup.

“We are delighted to launch White Collar Factory – our most progressive project to date. It is the culmination of years of thought, research, design development and collaboration with our design team to produce a new type of sustainable workplace for London. Now 87 per cent pre-let with most of the remaining space under offer, it is proof of London‘s demand for innovation.”

Simon Silver, Director, Derwent London

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