Aston Martin Design Studio by Weedon Partnership
As the obnoxious Emma Parker-Bowles said in the Sun, "When you think about tree-huggers you would guess maybe Greenpeace or Friends Of The Earth. You certainly wouldn’t put your money on Aston Martin. Yes, they might be very beautiful cars but they are thirsty, and they leave a bigger carbon footprint than a genetically modified yeti."
Nonetheless, they have built a new design studio designed by Terry Lee of Weedon Partnership Architects that is just about as green as it gets, and prefab, too.
Nobody will ever get in to see it, all very hush-hush top secret; it even has an "external viewing garden, an essential but secretive space that’s used to see the effect of natural daylight on models. The viewing garden is screened from the rest of the facility by a hand laid stone wall, landscaping and water features."
It was built as a modular building by Austria's Holzbau Saurer out of 473 cubic metres of Austrian spruce. "Remarkably, this amount of spruce represents just 9 minutes growth in Austria’s extensive and highly managed forests."
20 Facts from Aston Martin:
1. The building was built by Austrian company Holzbau Saurer, incorporating the best of Austrian woodworking knowledge and experience
2. The main structure which comprises almost 500m3 of laminated spruce and 30m3 of oak is all farmed from a managed sustainable forest in Austria
3. The spruce used is replenished in only nine minutes
4. Window frames, door and external cladding is all seasoned Oak from forests in Switzerland
5. The building is insulated to a very high level beyond UK building requirements and uses only natural hemp material for wall insulation
6. In Spring 2008 a sedum roof will be planted. This is a plant which grows slowly and needs only periodic cutting. This helps with drainage and insulation thus reducing energy requirements
7. The space includes an external design garden with natural stone walling to enable designs to be viewed securely in natural light settings
8. The cooling system uses a gravity system built into the wall cavities
9. All floors have underfloor heating for the most efficient provision of uniform heat throughout the space
10. The building cooling and heating is achieved by using a vertical closed loop ground water system and heatpump with thirty 100m deep bore holes
11. There is a total of over 7.5 miles of pipework with four pipes in each bore hole
12. This provides three to four times more heating or cooling than the cost of electricity used and requires little maintenance
13. The design showroom is equipped with the latest Bang & Olufsen audio visual technology with theatre sound, lighting and integrated turntable for presentations
14. Vehicle lifts in the plates enable designs to be worked on ergonomically
15. Three axis milling machines are situated in the studio to mill and verify full size model surfaces
16. The design studio is multi functional with secure zones for presentations and conferencing
17. The travertine marble reception area features skyframe doors that slide open to create a usable inside/outside space for natural light viewing
18. A galleried area in the studio enables designs to be viewed from every angle
19. The building was designed by Weedon Partnership, the Birmingham-based architects responsible for designing the award-winning Aston Martin headquarters and production facility
20. The studio is 65% more energy-efficient than a building using a conventional heating and cooling system