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|Nottingham, United Kingdom
|Civic Trust Awards: Energy Conservation Award;
Green Building of the Year Award: Highly Commended;
IOC/IAKS Award: Exemplary Sports and Leisure Facilities;
Concrete Society: Certificate of Excellence, Outstanding Structure.
When completed in 1994, the Inland Revenue Centre was the first British project to receive maximum points under the BREEAM assessment.
The design forms a new urban quarter of six separate office buildings plus an amenity building, located between a railway line and a canal near Nottingham’s city centre. Housing 1800 workers, the office buildings form courtyards and L-shaped blocks, and are arranged along a curving spine road to create a welcoming and efficient office complex. This is crossed by radiating streets oriented towards Nottingham Castle, which is located on a steep bank above.
Extensively prefabricated to meet the tight construction programme, the office buildings utilise local bricks for load-bearing piers, which alternate with full-height glazing. The tapering piers support barrel-vaulted concrete floors, which span the width of each building and provide thermal mass to help regulate the internal temperature. Glass block stair towers at the corners form part of the ventilation system, expelling hot air around the edges of the fabric covered roofs, which can be hydraulically-lifted if necessary. The buildings are capped with projecting lead-clad attics.
With energy conservation a high priority, the buildings are relatively narrow – 13.6 metres for the lower floors and 15 metres for the attic storey. External shading is provided by horizontal, projecting, glass 'light shelves' at door-head height, which reflect daylight up onto the ceiling, and by the deep reveals of the brick piers. Windows are triple-glazed, with a venetian blind in the outer cavity.
In contrast, the centrally-placed amenity building has a distinctive fabric roof suspended from four, raking steel masts. This is the visual and social centre of the complex, containing a ground floor sports hall with a bar and restaurants above.
The Inland Revenue was given a Grade II listing by Historic England in June 2023 due to it being “a major work of the 1990s by one of Britain’s foremost contemporary architects;” and for “the attention given to sustainability issues throughout the design.”