Case Studies

WWF HQ, Living Planet Centre, Woking Surrey


WWF HQ Woking


The WWF Centre is elevated upon a concrete plinth which forms a ground level car park which had to be retained as part of the planning consent



The HQ of any establishment should reflect the ethos and aspirations of the client so when the brief is to design and construct a completely new hub for The World Wildlife Foundation sustainability was at the forefront of every decision.




WWF HQ Woking Two


The Hopkins Architects designed complex features a timber and steel frame with large areas of glass providing plenty of natural light.


The Living Planet Centre was designed by Hopkins Architects and constructed by Willmott Dixon with the aim of achieving the highest possible BREEAM ‘Outstanding’  rating and setting a benchmark for sustainability. The site is on the very fringe of Woking just a few wheel spins from The McLaren HQ, another iconic building. The planning consent involved retaining the existing public car parking space which enabled the architects to elevate the building as if it was on a series of pedestals. Whist having the airspace beneath the building creates a number of issues with thermal and acoustic insulation it elevates the building in every sense. The foundation frame consists of fair faced concrete on which the timber, glass and steel framed building rather regally sits.


WWF HQ Woking Three


The building features plenty of Natural Light and is also naturally ventilated




The 37.5 metre timber curved trusses are constructed from laminated timber capped with a zinc roof with photovoltaic panels and metal wind cowls to aid the natural air ventilation system. With the eastern and western ends being glazed, timber louvers have been added to limit solar gain.


WWF HQ Woking Four


In line with the ethos of the WWF the timber all came from providers who could garauntee they were responsibly sourced including much of the flooring panels.


As with many modern workspaces the atria or hub is an essential component of the design allowing staff to congregate in a light and airy space for meetings or just to grab a coffee. The double height complex has enabled the hub to be more of a ‘street’ which runs through the building which dissects the first floor forming a mezzanine arrangement around the inner rim. The less formal arrangement inside allows for great flexibility within the building so that areas can be re-arranged to suit the immediate staff needs and any future requirements.


WWF HQ Woking Eleven


As with almost all modern commercial bildings, there is a 'Hub' for staff to meet both formally and socially. This has both natural light and natural ventilation (Via the floor plenum)


The whole of the flooring areas consist of a Mero Raised Access System which not only meet all of the sustainability criteria but also offer a plethora of other technical requirements with regard to natural air ventilation and thermal insulation.


WWF HQ Woking Ten


Glass & Natural Timber are complimented by the mezzanine floor arrangement which has an open centre enabling the rooflights to illuminate the whole building.



The commitment by WWF was to ensure resources used in the building came from sustainable sources resulting in Willmott Dixon issuing some very impressive statistics

  •                 80% of aggregates by volume throughout the construction were recycled
  •                     98.9% of building elements classed as being responsibly sourced by the BRE
  •                     99% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  •                            42% reduction in embodied carbon of materials through design and procurement choices


WWF HQ Woking Six



There is public access to part of the building so that the regular exhibitions can be viewed and information on the charity and its fundraising can be obtained.


WWF HQ Woking Eight


MERO-SCHMIDLIN supplied and installed Raised Access Flooring throughout the building using both responsibly sourced and recycled materials


The Raised Access Flooring System is now an almost fundamental choice in modern building design as it not only allows for masses of building control cables, ducts, flues and pipework to be hidden from view, it is also used to provide an airtight plenum so that naturally ventilated air can be dispersed throughout the complex via vents in the floor. This requires the system to meet various air tight tests throughout the building but also floor voids have to be flame retardant to avoid any ignition within the void spreading or being fed with air from the ventilation outlets. With the move to fresh air rather than air conditioning the floor has become a vital component within the air distribution system. The joints within the flooring support panels and floor coverings have an important part to play in providing air tight seals. It is vitally important that the support panels do not flex and that they are all correctly supported by correctly positioned adjustable steel pedestals. There is a high degree of specialist design involved in the process and in order to meet the sustainable criteria the panels were calcium sulphate and the support pedestals have a high recycled steel content. The MERO Combi T System was the only raised flooring system which met all of this criteria and coupled with recycled chipboard flooring boards, met the responsible sourcing brief as well.


WWF HQ Recept Woking Seven





As with any commercial building the ground floor and mezzanine have a wide variety of uses served by different floor coverings. The areas to be tiled were succinctly served by the use of Strata Merazzo Composite Tiles  which again contained high levels of recycled content. The Mero Combi T system allows for these to be factory bonded to the upper panels reducing both wet trades but perhaps more importantly allowing the areas to be trafficked by other trades given the correct levels of protection. These attributes allow the floor areas to be brought into use very quickly saving hundreds of hours of site time and the associated expense. The highly adaptable system carries carpet tiles, vinyl flooring and composite tiles to suit the individual needs of each area. The floor vents are sited within the central areas and alongside the exterior glass curtain walling offering an unobtrusive range of outlets plus the necessary inspection access points.

The 3600m2 building has a range of cutting edge features which will undoubtedly influence designs within the very near future with the now traditional ground source heat pumps and rainwater recycling.


For more info on the fantastic work done by the WWF AND how you can contribute please see WWF Website


For more info on MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC see  MERO-SCHMIDLIN website


All Photographs and text by Paul Scott, Front Elevation











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