The transformation of a brownfield site extends the character and urban grain of the city to create accommodation space for 1,800 staff. The development consists of seven separate buildings, in the form of courtyards and L-shaped blocks, arranged along a curving spine road, lined with trees and car parking. It is crossed by radiating streets, which focus on Nottingham Castle, on a steep bank above.
The amenity building, with its dramatic fabric roof suspended from four raking steel masts, is placed centrally along the spine. It is the visual and social centre of the complex, containing a multi-purpose sports hall, flanked by changing rooms on the ground floor and by a bar and restaurants on the balcony above.
The office buildings were extensively pre-fabricated to meet a tight construction programme. The local bricks of the load-bearing piers were laid in a factory, around steel lifting rods, in storey height units. They support shallow barrel-vaulted concrete floors spanning the width of the building. The office buildings are capped with projecting lead-clad attics.
The Centre was a pioneering sustainable project in the UK. It was the first British project to receive maximum points under the BREEAM assessment. At night the inherent thermal mass of the concrete is exploited and purged with fresh air to pre cool the structure. At the corners of the buildings, the air within the glass block stair towers warms and rises on sunny days, giving extra drive to the ventilation system. Fabric umbrellas on the tops of the towers act as large dampers, lifting to exhaust hot air and closing, on cool days, to conserve heat.