'Green' factor clinches top award

A SUFFOLK building made of hemp and lime as well as other “deep green” materials has scooped a top architectural award. The Foundry at Lawshall near Bury St Edmunds has been awarded first place in the sustainability category in the Royal Institute of British Architects' East Spirit of Ingenuity Architectural Awards 2006.

A SUFFOLK building made of hemp and lime as well as other “deep green” materials has scooped a top architectural award.

The Foundry at Lawshall near Bury St Edmunds has been awarded first place in the sustainability category in the Royal Institute of British Architects' East Spirit of Ingenuity Architectural Awards 2006.

Green Light Trust Chief Executive Nigel Hughes, who own the building, and architect Ralph Carpenter of Modece Architects will receive the award from RIBA at a ceremony on October 6 at Chilton Hall near Cambridge.

RIBA East judges were impressed with the use of Lime in place of concrete and locally-grown hemp insulating the timber-framed building instead of fibreglass. Hazel and clay were also used to make the interior walls and solar energy panels generate hot water for the building, while rain water flushes the toilets.

The home award for a new build home or housing development goes to Uplands, in Bentley, Ipswich, designed by Freeland Rees Roberts Architects of Cambridge.

Work on the Martello Tower at Jaywick by Maldon-based conservation architect Hilary Brightman is commended in two categories - the Heritage Award and the Client Award.

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Mr Hughes said of the award for The Foundry: “We are absolutely delighted to have our building acknowledged by RIBA as an example for others to follow.

“As an organisation we aim to encourage people to look after the environment and conserve natural resources, so we designed our new headquarters to be as friendly to the local environment as possible.

“For example, the building is heated using a wood-fuelled boiler. In around ten years' time we will be able to run the boiler with coppiced wood from our own doorstep. And until the wood has grown enough for us to do this, we are using other locally-grown timber.”

The Foundry incorporates office space and a meeting room, which Green Light Trust uses for environmental and educational training. The building is also available for the general public to use as a meeting space.

“Buildings which utilise green principles to this extent are almost never built,” said architect Ralph Carpenter. “Wherever possible we used local materials so as to minimise transport costs and the associated environmental impact. To reduce packaging, the hemp was delivered in massive fertiliser bags which were then taken back by the supplier. And a reed bed sewage system means human waste from the building is broken down on site.”

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