Short Listed Schemes – Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios & Hide House

Project: Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden
Location: Leavesden
Client: Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden
Architect: KMG Partnership
Category: Retrofit for the Future

In 2010, Warner Bros invested £100 million in the refurbishment and expansion of the former Rolls Royce factory at Leavesden. The facility contains one third of all the stage space within the UK and is the only permanent studio facility in Europe owned by a US film production company.

Alongside this, Warner Bros. has developed an internationally acclaimed visitor attraction; the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, which provides a unique showcase of the extraordinary British artistry, technology and talent that went into making the most successful film series of all time – filmed at Leavesden.

The overriding aim of the project was to greatly improve the sustainability and energy efficiency of the site. The studios now benefit from a range of initiatives introduced to conserve resources, reduce energy consumption and diminish waste. CO2 emissions have been reduced by 30%. Photocell controls, BEMS controlling heating, natural lighting / ventilation, a waste management & recycling strategy lead to a BREEAM Very Good rating for the 70 year old buildings.

This is the first permanent studio facility in Europe to be owned by a US film production company since the 1940s. It contains in excess of a third of all film and TV production space within the UK and is one of a few locations in the country where large scale productions can be made. The 40ha ‘backlot’ allows extensive sets and film locations to be created without having to leave the site, this provides exceptional economic advantages.

Over 80% of employees come from the local area and many work at the Studio Tour ‘The Making of Harry Potter,’ which showcases the artistry, technology and talent behind the series of films made at Leavesden.

Project: Hide House
Location: 2b Railway Place, Hertford
Client: Hannah Morris & Glenn Graney
Architect: Edward Cullinan Architects
Category: Design Excellence & Outstanding commitment to Adapt to a Changing Climate.

Hide House is a category 5 Eco House conversion of 12 garage units into a 360sqm modern house in a Hertford conservation area. This is a 1 level house with a basement living area and bedroom. The house benefits from being super insulated and air tight with an air source heat pump and heat recovery system. The house uses high quality materials and finishings including thermally treated Platowood Frake cladding and Sedum covered flat roof.

The scheme has been designed to take advantage of the site’s position and configuration while considering its location in a conservation area. The design is contemporary and distinctive but doesn’t compromise the local conservation area and existing building stock.

The client has worked closely with the architect to create a visually appealing modern house that contrasted with, yet complemented the variety of surrounding properties.

The ‘Platowood Frake’ timber cladding is a thermally treated product requiring no maintenance and ages to a subtle silvery grey. The ‘Jub’ render system has the colour pigment impregnated throughout the material, eliminating the need for re-painting. The muted, warm grey, flat German bricks are of the highest quality. The overall effect is a flat, even expanse of brickwork creating a subtle contrast to the stark white of the render.

The aim was to ‘future proof’ the house with a choice of insulation, heating, and ventilation reflecting the need to adapt to an ever changing climate. Using the natural heat retention of a super insulated air tight property, the mechanical heat recovery system supplies cooling in the summer and a natural air flow during the winter. It also distributes heat evenly throughout the house, drawing heat from above the log burning stove.


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