TouchBase Pears has received another accolade, making the shortlist for the 2018 Concrete Society Awards. Now in their 50th year, the Awards are an annual celebration of the best projects in the United Kingdom with concrete as the majority structural component.
TouchBase Pears is a pioneering and innovative development for Sense, a national charity that supports deafblind people or those with sensory impairments. Sense’s vision was to redefine the norm, creating a building of architectural merit within an achievable budget that removed social barriers and integrates users with the wider community.
The client vision for the project was to provide an environment where its users would feel safe and secure therefore the architectural response was to create a robust yet inviting building that would last the test of time. The design team adopted a holistic, fabric first approach to the building’s structural and services solution that resulted in an in-situ concrete framed building. The aim was to celebrate the use of concrete by leaving it exposed wherever possible to reveal its aesthetical qualities, whilst also being a key component of the services strategy to absorb any excess heat gains from within the building. The concrete frame gives a very high thermal mass which allows the concrete to store energy and slowly release it when needed thereby maximising the use of climate thermal conditions and resulting in a reduction in energy consumption.
The project involved working with Stepnell (contractors), HRW (structural engineers), Evans Concrete (precast facade), David Ashley Ltd (in-situ conctrete), Le Roc Ltd (precast stairs) and others.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in November. GHA has been recognised by these awards on a number of previous occasions, most notably achieving the Overall Winner Prize for the Market Place, Armagh.