Hawkins\Brown’s striking glazed Corby Cube is the focal point of a major regeneration programme to revitalise the former steel-making town in Northants, UK.
Won in international competition in 2004, the Corby Cube combines a diverse programme of civic and arts uses into a new model for civic architecture. Maximising its central location at the heart of a new town square, the building’s array of uses are arranged around an internal ‘promenade architecturale’ composed into a coherent glazed cube form with four ‘live’ elevations, each articulating the uses contained within.
Corby Cube breaks the tradition of a formal town hall situated at the head of the town square and is instead located in the centre of the new square with four active fronts. An external envelope of black and reflective glass gives the building its characteristic glistening object-like form. Each elevation is distinctively articulated within this: the North elevation is animated by the projected transparent glazed entrance foyer; the East elevation by a doubleheight window into the council chamber; a cantilevered reading room projects out of the first floor of the South elevation providing shade to the café; and the West elevation expresses the library within.
The pure form of the building is unobstructed by service entrances and plant which are contained in a below ground undercroft. Treating the roof as a fifth elevation, generous public roof terraces on the building’s upper levels are planted with full-size trees and feature sedum and brown roofs to enhance the site’s ecology.
All facilities are arranged around an internal route coiled inside the cube form, allowing access for all. Many facilities have a ground floor presence and are inextricably linked, arranged around a continuous route, which rises from the foyer through the building and culminates in a helical stair leading to the rooftop terrace. The building combines uses to ensure activity around the clock, from early morning visitors to the library to late night performances in the theatre.
The building is highly sustainable in terms of its long-term viability as a building offering adaptable and durable spaces and in terms of its environmental performance. It is the only theatre venue in the UK to receive an “Excellent” BREEAM rating (Building Research Establishment Energy Assessment Method, the leading assessment method for buildings).
The composition of the glass façade modulates between transparent and opaque glass according to orientation to limit solar heat gain to the south and allow in north light. The building incorporates low energy and intelligent lighting systems and is naturally ventilated with openable windows operated from a central management system. An exposed concrete structureprovides thermal mass to regulate internal temperature. Other environmental measures include a solar thermal heating system and rainwater recycling.
The building illustrates a new paradigm for civic architecture enabling access for all, promoting leading edge design, achieving BREEAM excellence and bringing together wider arts and civic activities into one inclusive community building.
Location: George Street, Corby, Northants NN17 1QB, UK
Client: Corby Borough Council
Funding: Corby Borough Council, HCA (formerly English Partnerships),
North Northants Development Company (formerly Catalyst
Corby), Northamptonshire County Council and East Midlands
Development Agency, Department of Communities & Local
Government (formerly ODPM).
Consultants: Structural Engineer: Adams Kara Taylor
Services Engineer: Max Fordham
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
Landscape Architects: Grant Associates
Acoustics Engineer: RBA Acoustics
Project Manager: Mouchel
CDM Coordinator: PFB Construction Management Services
Sustainability Consultant: Southfacing
Graphics & Signage: SEA
Contractor: Galliford Try Construction (Central)
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