This ground-breaking timber framed project showcases low-carbon sustainable building with a highly ecological specification, in a design that achieves Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding. The commitment to the sourcing of local trade and low-carbon materials makes the Enterprise Centre an exemplar for specification, structural integration as well as energy performance. The showcase exposed timber frame is just the surface of this building's material story, which is rich from the ground up with local, domestic and recycled materials, offering a unique and inspiring 21st century building.
The Enterprise Centre in Norwich is the latest addition to the University of East Anglia campus. The client called for an innovative low-carbon sustainable building. The architects, engineers, and the contractor – this was a contractor-led team – decided to make as much of the building as possible from wood, and as much of that as possible from locally grown wood.
The main frame of beams and columns was made of glued laminated timber imported from Scandinavia, but all the rest of the wood was sourced from Thetford forest. This is not an area that is used to producing structural timber and so the engineers had to work with the supplier to select suitable wood.
The result is a building where almost every internal surface is of wood. Externally some of the walls are covered with thatch, formed in hanging strips between the windows – a truly innovative design. The timber structure is a crucial part of a building that is super-sustainable. It has been built to Passivhaus and BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ standards.