Underfloor air conditioning pioneer, AET Flexible Space, has won the ‘Retrofit Project of the Year’ at the H&V News Awards 2020 for its work supplying its system to the refurbishment of 24 St James Square.
The judges commented that the project was “an innovative use of building services [which] addressed the challenge of a historic site with low ceiling height and extensive period features.” They also particularly highlighted the benefits of the flexibility of AET’s underfloor air conditioning technology.
One of the key challenges presented by the refurbishment of the grade-2 listed 24 St James Square was the need to simultaneously preserve key architectural features of the building, whilst at the same time providing flexible, modern, premium office space that would suit the requirements of incoming tenants.
The remodelling of the office interiors at all levels was driven by seeking to maximise floor space and take full advantage of views from the double aspect interior, as well as providing flexible air conditioning at each floor plate. This would simply not have been possible with a conventional ceiling-based air conditioning system.
M&E Consultant for the 24 St James’s Square project, Vic Holloway, from Edward Pearce LLP commented, “At the outset of the design process it was clear that the refurbishment delivered significant challenges in delivering fully serviced accommodation whilst maintaining respectable floor to ceiling heights. The AET downflow units promptly stood out as the obvious candidate for several reasons, including having the absolute minimum requirement for floor void height, and offering excellent distribution of cooling, heating and ventilation evenly across the whole floor, whilst reducing energy consumption.”
AET’s underfloor air conditioning CAM-V system was perfectly suited to this complex project, because it makes use of the space beneath a raised access floor to create the air ventilation path, eliminating the need for ceiling-based services and associated duct and pipework, thus maximising floor to ceiling heights. The high floor to ceiling heights and preservation of the windows and original ceilings have also created a brighter and more airy office environment.
Refurbishment of existing buildings has been identified as a key way to increase the sustainability of the construction industry, especially in densely built-up cities like London. However, converting residential buildings into class A office environments is often a major challenge. AET’s underfloor systems are perfectly adapted to this challenge, as they require minimal adjustments for installation, and provide all the necessary heating and cooling for a commercial building.
The 24 St James project has already won the “Best Office Architecture London” award at the 2019 International Property Awards, and the space is currently being let as Grade A office space by BNP Paribas Real Estate.