Diary Entry No.1 – The Beginning

Architects 3D-  early design concept

Architects 3D-  early design concept

Over the following months, Paul McAlister Architects will be writing a regular diary documenting the construction of the much anticipated CREST Pavilion in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Similarly to the ‘Passivhaus diaries’ we will discuss in detail the design and construction of the CREST Pavilion, focusing on the challenges and rewards of sustainable architecture.

The CREST centre will comprise of three areas; the Hub, the Research & Development Lab and the Pavilion. The Pavilion will be newly developed while the Hub and Research & Development lab will be integrated into the existing Skills Centre building; works on this section of the project are currently ongoing.

The Hub will form the central office area within the CREST centre and will comprise modern office and meeting space where the CREST team will meet with companies to discuss their requirements and outline the services available. The Research & Development lab will comprise a large workshop facility which can be divided into smaller project workspaces. Within the Research & Development lab a range of advanced prototyping, testing and development facilities will be available to enable staff at the centre to support companies with practical hands-on new product development. The Pavilion area of the CREST centre will provide demonstration and testing facilities to showcase innovative products and processes and the use of renewable technologies in construction. The Pavilion will be designed to engage industry through experiencing (seeing, touching) new sustainable technologies and materials allowing for a deeper engagement in and understanding of the techniques on display.

Let’s start from the beginning, in April 2013 we, at Paul McAlister Architects, submitted our proposal for the CREST Centre and Pavilion and in August we were delighted to win the open tender for the provision of architect led design team services for the development. The Pavilion section of the build is due to commence on site on Monday and we are looking forward to documenting its progress!

From the very outset it was made clear that sustainable design was key to the successful completion of the CREST Pavilion, the responsible approach was to reflect the innovative aspiration of the CREST project and is itself a demonstration building and showcase for the new technologies on display. We are delighted to be associated with our client, South West College, who can see the benefit of designing a building that will be ground breaking in terms of sustainability.

The project is the one of the most sustainable projects in the UK and will be the first commercial building in Ireland to have the following three sustainable credentials:

  1. Passivhaus Certified for Energy efficient envelope and ventilation system
  2. BREEAM excellent in terms of the BRE sustainable benchmark for UK commercials buildings
  3. The building will also be Zero Carbon, this means that the building can provide, by renewable energy, it own source of heat and lighting.

Whilst a combination of these sustainable criteria has been attempted in other parts of the UK, this will be the first example in Northern Ireland or Ireland and will become a benchmark building for sustainability.