Client Selly Oak Colleges Cadbury Trust

The Orchard Learning and Resource Centre at Selly Oak contains a large library facility, with associated administrative offices and secure rooms for book storage, built in 1995 using a design and build contract, with contractor Tilbury Douglas.

The brief for the environmental design was written by Arups, who were responsible for the structural and environmental design, also thermal analysis, and after discussions with the architect, for the daylighting strategy and window design.

The strategy adopted resulted in a passive solar building with natural ventilation, with the elimination of an overall air-conditioning system, with the exception of certain critical areas. The daylighting strategy was designed to reduce the use of energy as far as possible.

The form of the building seen in the accompanying plans consists of three interlinked modules, with a linear skylight running the full length of the building, giving daylight through to the ground floor by what might be described as an atrium. The building is on an east/west axis. The critical south elevation is mastered by an existing row of deciduous trees, which provide desirable solar shading during the summer months, whilst allowing maximum sunlight through in the winter.

The library open plan areas are naturally ventilated and receive daylight both from the side windows and the central atrium. The projecting bays at first floor level provide very attractive study areas on the north side of the building. What is most important is that there is an overall environment of daylight during the day, giving the building its special quality.

Sketch section to show ventilation system, with windows and Sketch section through the atrium skylight

TYPICAL SECTION THROUGH LIBRARY AREA Plans at ground, first and mezzanine level

NORTH ELEVATION <

North elevation

North elevation toshowthe projecting bays
Clerestorey glazing at high level with catwalk for maintenance

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