16 April 2020
Flexible system helps safeguard period property and maximise space
An underfloor air conditioning system has allowed key period features to be preserved in the renovation of a grade II listed building in central London.
AET Flexible Space provided an underfloor air conditioning system at 24 St James Square which fits into the existing space beneath a raised-access floor, thus removing the need for any ceiling-based ductwork and the need for a lowered ceiling.
One of the main challenges presented by the refurbishment was the need to preserve key architectural features of the building, such as the original ceilings and windows, whilst at the same time providing flexible, premium office space that would suit the requirements of incoming tenants. The remodelling of the office interiors at all levels was driven by seeking to maximise floor space and take full advantage of views from the double aspect interior.
AET’s UfAC CAM-V system was chosen because it eliminates the need for ceiling-based services and associated duct and pipework, while at the same time maximising the floor to ceiling heights. The underfloor system also creates a brighter and more airy office environment, and also means that the services can be maintained at an easily accessible level. The installation of an overhead air conditioning system using ducting would have taken up valuable headroom on each floor, as well as covering up the building’s original ceilings and creating awkward junctions where window heads would otherwise meet suspended ceiling grids.
M&E Consultant for the project, Vic Holloway, from Edward Pearce, said: “At the outset of the design process it was clear that the refurbishment delivered significant challenges in delivering fully serviced accommodation whilst maintaining respectable floor to ceiling heights. The AET downflow units promptly stood out as the obvious candidate for several reasons, including having the absolute minimum requirement for floor void height, and offering excellent distribution of cooling, heating and ventilation evenly across the whole floor whilst reducing energy consumption.”
The system needed to be able to adapt to changing needs in the future and the floor-level installation means the UfAC solution can be re-arranged to suit workspace requirements. The Fantiles can also easily be relocated, offering savings when reconfiguring workspace.
A common complaint from staff prior to the refurbishment was the variation in temperature across the office space, and the cold draughts caused by the ceiling-based air conditioning system. Due to AET’s control solution it is possible to set the temperature and air flow to zone requirements. AET’s UfAC solution is designed to create minimal draughts and allow for individual control of temperature and fan speeds, creating comfortable and adaptable working environments throughout the office space.
The project won the “Best Office Architecture London” award at the 2019 International Property Awards, and the space is currently being let as Grade A office space by BNP Paribas Real Estate.