University of Cambridge
Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), 1 Regent Street
This project is a low-carbon retrofit of a 1930’s former telephone exchange building in a prominent Cambridge City centre location for the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).
Regent Street is an extremely busy main route into the city centre, used by cars, buses, pedestrians and cyclists, reflecting its historic function as an important approach to the city from the south. Its mixture of architecture illustrates its initial development in the late 18th and early 19th Century as the city spread out to the south along the old Roman road. Subsequent redevelopment has managed to maintain many of the architectural characteristics, some times more successfully than others, whilst the many historic shopfronts maintain its character as a commercial area.
Once complete the building will operate as the new Head Office for CISL as well as providing co-working space for corporate partners and SMEs along with the creation of an exhibition space to not only teach and inspire, but to promote new and innovative technologies.
With the requirement to decarbonise existing building stock ever increasing, one of the overarching objectives for this project is to challenge the misconception that a sustainable project costs more than its ‘standard’ equivalent with the team wanting to show that the process can be replicated in the future.
In addition to the main sustainability targets, the design team continued to progress the design in pursuit of the overarching aims of the high level brief: Circular Office case study, embodied carbon <300kg CO2/m2 [100 year], 50 technology innovations, 50% bio-based materials and traceability.
One of the critical deliverables required on this project was liaising with and obtaining buy-in from all key stakeholders, with CISL’s aspirations having to be accommodated within the wider University estate and its procedures. We achieved this by holding collaborative workshops at each RIBA Stage to enable the design team to present ideas and gain feedback, update stakeholders on objectives and also invite external speakers to share knowledge on what we’re trying to achieve.