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Project of the Year - Public Use

Project of the Year - Public Use

Sponsored by: Project of the Year - Healthcare & Project of the Year - Retail/Leisure

This award recognises and celebrates buildings that most effectively demonstrate high levels of user satisfaction and comfort while delivering outstanding measured building performance, as well as the work and dedication of the project team. Projects had to have been completed between 1 June 2018 and 31 August 2020.

Winner: St John's College, Oxford, Library and Study Centre – Max Fordham
The brief was to explore options for a new carbon-neutral study centre and archive within a historic part of St John’s College, Oxford.
The building’s concrete frame – which is clad in stone, with sills, copings and weatherings in harder-wearing limestone – made up a significant proportion of the project’s embodied carbon. However, this and the exposed thermal mass help reduce peak temperatures and provide a stable internal environment. 
The all-electric MEP design includes a ground source heat pump (GSHP) served by closed-loop boreholes located beneath the President’s garden, paired with a large photovoltaic (PV) array on the flat and pitched roofs.
Daylighting has been maximised by roof lights, clerestory glazing and slot windows, and natural ventilation to the main library spaces is by a mix of windows and louvres. The building management system (BMS) controls and modulates these openings based on occupancy levels and internal temperatures, monitored by sensors, although manual overrides are provided for library staff.
Ventilation louvres integrated into the façade also supply air at low level within the main reading space, ensuring increased airflow rates and improved summer comfort.
The aftercare team was given remote access to the BMS to log and monitor performance data, while occupant feedback was collected from the head librarian, who represented building users in aftercare meetings. This information was all used to optimise internal conditions for the health and wellbeing of students and to prevent overheating.
Temperatures in winter have generally been kept between 19°C and 21°C in the main library spaces, but slightly warmer temperatures are preferred in the librarian offices. The first floor is significantly warmer than the ground floor because of much higher solar gains and lower thermal mass. During aftercare monitoring, the first floor has only gone above 28°C three times, and the ground-floor reading room has not risen above 24°C.
Monitoring of the GSHP is ongoing, with the first year demonstrating a coefficient of performance of 3.6.
Although the archive room in the basement has some mechanical ventilation and dehumidification when needed, it is largely passive and controls temperatures and relative humidity without the need for intensive servicing.

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