Corstorphine + Wright have worked closely with Network Road to transform the Westwood Leadership and Development Centre. It was originally built in the early 1990’s for Cable and Wireless who at that time were at the forefront of mobile telephones and its infrastructure. The building was opened in 1993 and was operated as Cable and Wireless’s University providing training facilities as well as restaurant and living accommodation. In addition the campus includes a Leisure Centre.
Following its completion the project was hailed a success it was at the forefront of architectural design and sustainability. The building has a distinctive wave roof form, which not only encloses the training spaces but also supports the passive environmental design. During 2006 Cable and Wireless had decided that the building was no longer required and sold the freehold to Network Rail, who at the time were looking for a nationwide training centre to support there ingoing training commitments. Following the purchase Network Rail made some limited alterations to the building but generally it remained in the same format as the original design. Over the last 7 years the building has influenced how the occupants are able to use it and there are particular elements of the original design that were specific to Cable and Wireless and create some degree of conflict within the building. The building is extremely popular with delegates and is heavily subscribed and in high demand therefore our refurbishment needed to keep the buildings integrity whilst taking the building in a new direction. The facility is Network Rails most important UK training centre, with their huge commitment to staff training, health and safety as well as continuing professional development a study was undertaken to assess the potential to improve efficiency and increase the number of delegates who can use the building at any one time.
Corstorphine + Wright were selected from Network Rail’s architectural framework to consider how Westwood could be improved and deliver a more efficient training and conferencing environment. Initially our team-spent 24hrs at Westwood to experience the building first hand which helped us to understand how the spaces worked and what internal flows were like, in addition we have undertaken a number of open sessions with Network Rail to help visualize the direction for Westwood. As the project progressed we produced written reports to be used during stage presentations at all design stages through to Stage E/F1 before tender.
After 20 years it’s ambition as a low energy, sustainable building has been overtaken by many modern buildings. Newer buildings have taken the notion of energy efficiency to a completely different level. The passive technologies employed at Westwood are let down by many areas that suffer from extremes of heat and cold with large areas of untreated glazing that are susceptible to huge solar gains and heat loss in the winter months. The large apartments within each accommodation block will be sub-divided to create three ensuites bedrooms to increase the overnight capacity, as many courses held at Westwood are over 2-3 days.
Our proposals are aimed at improving the internal circulation and create a single central reception at the heart of the building. In addition we are working with sustainability experts to improve the efficiency of the building. We are aiming to bring the building to a BREEAM Excellent score using BREEAM in use.Location: Coventry, United Kingdom Architect: Corstorphine + Wright
Client: Network Rail
Procurement: Framework Appointment (NR3)
Start: Dec 2012
End: Apr 2014