Lighting consultant Halcrow Client Open University

The Michael Young Building for the Open University Business School, was built at the Walton Hall Campus in Milton Keynes and completed in 2001. The building provides office and support accommodation for the staff originally occupying several temporary buildings on campus; in addition the building provides more meeting rooms with state of

Milton Keynes University Plans
Open University Business School, Walton Drive, Milton Keynes Ground Floor Plan JESTICO + WHILES

Plan at ground level

Open University Business School, Walton Drive, Milton Keynes First Floor Plan JESTICO + WHILES

Plan at first floor level the art audio-visual facilities forthe whole University.

The brief called for a low energy building designed to minimize maintenance and running costs. The BRE Method of Assessment (BREEAM) was used for environmental assessment during the design stage, and some modifications were made to achieve the highest levels, resulting in one of the highest scoring assessments made for any building.

The general strategy for the building can be seen from the plans, consisting of a simple H-Plan configuration of three storeys, consisting of a central core facilities block with four workspace wings radiating from it. The work spaces are designed to be as flexible as possible to facilitate a range of working configurations, such as cellular, group, or open plan.

The central core contains the vertical circulation, with an atrium giving access to the cafeteria. This central circulation area is designed to facilitate social interaction among staff and students .

The ventilation strategy for the building is closely related to the daylighting in that the method involved (Termodeck) demands that the window area does not not exceed 35 per cent glazing, resulting in lower Daylight Factors (DF) forthe interiors. The workspace wings are orientated east/west to optimize solar gain, and to increase views out to the landscape, whilst limiting solar glare.

The general principle for the lighting is that the maximum use is made of available daylight with a system of daylight linking. When the artificial lighting is required (if there is an absence of natural light during the day) it will be automatically dimmed in response to an improvement in the local daylight level. Furthermore lights local to each workstation can be turned on by clicking a special screen icon on their PC, with the light level being capable of being adjusted. Proximity switches automatically switch the artificial lights off after 15 minutes when no-one is there.

The final solution to the building, with its apparent success in terms of energy use, will be closely monitored for the first two years of occupation to ensure that the design intent is being delivered, with monthly energy reports being posted on the building's website.

Section through Workspace (A)

Section through Atrium (B) Open University Business School, Milton Keynes


The entrance atrium and reception
The central atrium

General view of the complex

The boardroom

General view of the complex

The boardroom

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