This new civic building provides a range of county council services including a central library, register office, and administrative and social services accommodation. Facing onto a new public square, the four-storey building, which has a timeless stone and glass facade, was designed to be a landmark for Crawley town centre. Accessed from the square, the three-storey library is arranged around a bright and welcoming central atrium.
Each floor cantilevers slightly over the level below, creating a gentle overhang that shelters and shades the south and west facades. The register office has a separate entrance, also off the square. The first floor ceremony rooms open onto a terrace that can be used for photography and outdoor gatherings.
Designed for sustainability and comfort, the building has a high thermal mass, controlled daylighting, a sophisticated mixed mode ventilation system and a biomass boiler. From the start the design has been developed following best practice sustainability principles. Simple methods of energy conservation such as exposed thermal mass, controlled daylighting, natural stack effect and cross ventilation are used to minimise heat gains. The sophisticated mix mode ventilation strategy, good natural lighting and the use of a biomass boiler also contributed to the achievement of a BREEAM rating of Very Good.
This strategy has resulted CO2 emissions (Design) of 11.94 kg CO2 /m²/yr compared with 30.31 kg CO2 /m²/yr required under the Building Regulations Part L2A calculations.