The new corporate headquarters for Rare, a 200-strong software engineering company based in Leicestershire, required low energy solutions to substantial security and heat output challenges; while the brief required the building to be sensitively integrated into the landscape setting: “noticed but not noticeable”.
Shared facilities, such as the refectory, administration offices, hardware support and recording studio, are housed in a central building which is connected by glazed links to a series of “barns” which house the majority of team workstations.
A masterplan was produced for the whole campus that included creating a new entrance road and extensive landscaping based on an ecological assessment of the 60 acre site. Careful negotiations took place with the planning authorities and the Royal Fine Art Commission, while public meetings were held to hear local views of the proposals.
This low energy solution responded to the onerous demands made on the internal environment by significant equipment heat loads (some workstation computers can generate up to 2KW of heat). The building was designed to use 25% less energy and less than half the water than a conventional building of the same size. Energy-saving features include natural ventilation and the use of borehole water for cooling. A reed bed system is used as the final “polisher” to the new sewage treatment plant.