WWF-UK Headquarters Living Planet Centre, Woking

Honest functionality at the core of the design

· Credit: Morley von Sternberg

Hopkins Architects for WWF-UK

Contract value: £20,000,000

GIA: 3580m2

RIBA South East Sustainability Award sponsored by Sika

It would have been tempting to design the UK headquarters of the World Wildlife Fund as a flamboyant model for future offices, so this unpretentious structure is refreshing for the clear honest functionality at the core of the design. Located on an exceptionally well-detailed suspended concrete podium over a pre-existing ground floor car park, the building houses 340 staff in a calm open plan office over two floors with a small visitor centre. 

  • · Credit: Morley von Sternberg
  • · Credit: Janie Airey
  • · Credit: Morley von Sternberg
  • · Credit: Morley von Sternberg

A barrel roof appears to be tethered by straightforward steel sections and connections. Rotating wind cowls and PV panels hint at the integrated sustainable design approach. Timber soffits give clues to an attention to detail and imbue a sense of domesticity that is rare in a corporate building. Although the work-space is alive with activity, it never feels overbearing or noisy but rather fresh and pleasant with enough natural light to ensure artificial top ups are used only sparingly. An honest and delightful office.

See other winners in the RIBA Regional Awards 2015 – South East