The Willis Building - AET Flexible SpaceAET Flexible Space

The Willis Building

Ipswich, UK

The Willis Building in Ipswich originally constructed in 1974 and credited with listed status in 1991 undertook extensive refurbishment in 1999 including the installation of under floor air conditioning to create additional office space

  • Client: Willis Group Holdings
  • Architect: Foster & Partners
  • Consultant: FC Foreman

The AET Flexible Space system was specified by FC Foremans as a solution to overcome English Heritage planning restrictions and limitations associated with ceiling based air conditioning systems.  The installation of a false ceiling was considered undesirable and studies demonstrated that perimeter air conditioning was impractical

The original construction included an indoor swimming pool, however it was decided to convert this area into offices during the refurbishment.  A purpose built removable plug was fitted within the pool and this 1250 sq m area was covered with an adjustable height raised floor creating a plenum which is now used as the ventilation zone for the air conditioning supply

AET also developed a special glass access floor tile to surround and highlight the edge of the pool below in line with English Heritages requirements

floor plan_001

Project Description

Bespoke Building Services for Grade 1 Listed Willis Building

Designed by Foster & Partners

Total Area = 21,255 sq m

Ventilation system: AET Flexible Space CAM-V

Under Floor Supply, High Level Return Air


The building is seen as a landmark in the development of ‘high tech’ architectural style.  The use of dark smoked glass, a curtain wall and lack of right angle corners mirrors  the art deco Express Building in Manchester. 1300 people work in open plan offices over three floors of the building and it has a unique lawn covered rooftop garden

  • The Willis Building Ipswich
    The Willis Building Ipswich
  • The Willis Building
    The Willis Building
  • The Willis Building
    The Willis Building
  • The Willis Building
    The Willis Building