Gilberts Serves Science Innovation

A new, landmark location for science and technology is engendering a stimulating environment for workers, in part through the physics of the ventilation.

The 7-storey, 14,000m2 The Lumen represents the first component of the first phase in Newcastle’s Helix Innovation Quarter, regenerating the site of the former Scottish & Newcastle Brewery. It is also the largest privately-funded office building in the city centre in a decade, financed by Legal & General. With an EPC rating of A, the building has also achieve BREEAM “Excellent”.

The open-plan, contemporary offices are ventilated throughout with diffusers from Gilberts Blackpool, delivering air throughout the workspace from a four pipe fan coil air conditioning system designed to provide a constant indoor air temperature. The Gilberts diffusers were selected by M&E specialist Integral UK Ltd, who developed the design from RIBA Stage 4 alongside M&E Consultant Desco. Integral completed the installation of the diffusers, supplied by Gilberts’ agent in the north east Angus Air.

Each floor features a perimeter bulkhead, with exposed building services across the ceiling plate. Gilberts’ GSL linear slot diffusers create an invisible wall of supply fresh air around the edge of the floorplate. Supplied in lengths up to 2m, the aluminium diffusers include a concealed alignment feature to enable a positive, seamless abutment of lengths to provide a continuous, unbroken aesthetic. A unique design of air deflection vane enables each run to be finitely adjusted to the precise ventilation requirements within the space.

Gilberts’ GSFA swirl diffusers deliver fresh air across the floor plate. To ensure the occupants below are not subjected to cold air dumping which is often a problem with exposed services where the incoming air has no surface- ceiling- to follow, each of the 250mm dia. GSFA features a coanda plate, on the advice of Gilberts and Angus Air. The additional surface of the plate at the entry of the air into the room allows the air to initially move horizontally and follow the plate. As the GSFA is designed to deliver 360 discharge, the coanda plate reduces the possibility of the air dumping and provides a neat solution to allow the conditioned air to mix with the room air before entering the occupied zone.

Angus Watson, Managing Director of Angus Air, elaborated, “The whole idea behind the design of The Lumen was to create flexible office space that allowed collaboration and exchange of ideas between the occupant, hence the open plan internal environment. The correct ventilation is critical to productivity: being too hot, cold, or sat in a draught is a distraction. We supported Desco in the selection of the most appropriate diffusers to create an ideal working environment, that also complimented the contemporary aesthetics. Gilberts’ products are at the cutting edge of air movement. We know too that the company has the capability and the knowledge to substantiate and validate any variation, such as the addition of the coanda.”

Faye Bennett, PR Manager for Legal & General Capital and LGIM Real Assets, added, “Legal & General is committed to regenerating brownfield sites, to create exciting urban places where people can live, work and play. The Lumen is the first step towards achieving that aim in Newcastle. We’re excited about the potential the offices have to stimulate innovation, and hope that the attention to detail in creating a positive working environment- even down to the ventilation- will contribute towards that.”

Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts is Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist, and is unique in its ability to develop components. Be it ‘mainstream’ or bespoke - entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 85,000 ft2 manufacturing facility. Its state of the art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.

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