Marketing suite, Goff’s Oak











The Halstead Grange development consists of a collection of 14 luxury homes set within an exclusive gated community in rural Hertfordshire, with properties at this development launching for around £1.4 million, the marketing suite had to exude and reflect the luxury and branding of the Halstead Grange development. Taylor Wimpey North Thames requested the design, build and installation of the marketing suite within an 8-week construction programme.

This was the first project that we worked on with our client Navigation Marketing Suites Services who were directly approached on the back of a successful internal fit out for a marketing suite for Peabody. In turn we were employed by them to design a marketing suite to be located within the development.

The brief was for a new-build temporary structure at the entrance of the site to provide a single-storey marketing suite on a very limited budget of £250,000 total build cost.

The first stage of design for the marketing suite was to map out the customer journey within the building to enhance the sales experience. We identified nine key client areas needed in order to follow the specific customer journey which were as follows: Meet and Greet, Seating, Sales Info, Coffee/Drinks, Product Selection, Development Model, Options, Meeting Room and Administration.

Despite only having a footprint of under 70sqm we felt that we were able to successfully fulfil the customer journey while providing adequate staff welfare facilities within a contemporary building that was both sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.

There were few major constraints within the site other than negotiating access within the rest of the development site and therefore the overriding factor for construction was to reduce the overall build programme time.

This was achieved by using a simple reinforced concrete slab foundation with a shuttered concrete upstand which would therefore allow liquid DPM to be applied before timber floor joists were laid between upstands, and then insulation between joists.

We decided to use a Glulam structural frame and a closed panel timber frame system for the external walls for both aesthetic reasons and sustainability. The front and rear of the building was constructed using full height aluminium framed glazing, the height of which was determined by the manual handling ability of 2.8m in order to reduce the on-site construction time.

By using the chosen construction methods as previously outlined there was a high level of sustainability throughout the construction process. Due to around 70% of the external skin of the building being fully glazed this would normally severely impact upon thermal efficiency.

We therefore felt that in order to offset the negative impact of the glazing on thermal efficiency we needed to look at ways to improve performance of this element. To achieve this we decided to specify that the glazing should be Planitherm One by Saint-Gobain which offers the most advanced thermal insulation with U-values of 1.0W/m2k achievable. This also therefore helps to improve the environmental impact of the building by reducing the CO2 emissions associated with reduced energy consumption.

By reducing the requirement for cooling and heating we were able to then reduce the air conditioning requirement to a minimum and achieve a pleasant internal environment to the sales area.

By using a hybrid construction system of Glulam frame, timber frame walls and roof and a highly efficient glazing method we were able to achieve a system that was sustainable, eco-friendly and provided a reduced construction programme due to most elements being able to be constructed off-site prior to insulation.

We also felt that due to the linear nature of the building the rainwater goods would therefore be excessively prominent to the front elevation. In order to overcome this we designed an aluminium fin to run flush to the internal ceiling that would be able to contain a hidden gutter system that would discharge to rainwater chains at either end of the building.

Despite being classed as a temporary building and therefore not being required to meet building regulation standards we feel that we managed to achieve a building that not only meets the standards but easily exceeds them.

Despite the client not necessarily having a strong sustainability requirement due to the temporary nature of the building, as a design studio our ethos is to provide environmentally sympathetic solutions wherever possible. We were given a limited budget for the overall construction of the building and instead of choosing traditional construction methods we strongly pushed for sustainable elements throughout which included the Glulam frame, closed panel timber frame and innovative glazing method.

Inclusive Design
By choosing to use a raft foundation with concrete upstand we were able to achieve a level threshold to the building to allow disabled access throughout and by determining in the design process to lay the building out over one storey it meant that there were no limitations for wheelchair access.

In addition to this we continued the glulam structure externally to a side-covered walkway to the welfare facilities containing a disabled access WC.

Standards and sustainability
GROW Design Studio has noticed that in recent years commercial marketing suite buildings have developed well beyond the Portakabin or garage conversions that have traditionally been used for residential developments. Despite the aesthetic requirements increasing there is still an issue that arises from their temporary nature and therefore not being required to meet building regulation standards which often allows designers to sacrifice sustainability and environmental impact in favour of pure aesthetics.

We feel that we have overcome these modern day challenges that face this specialist building type by creating a building that has a low environmental impact while providing a strong bold visual impact without sacrificing either element.

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