Couch Perry Wilkes projects shortlisted for AJ’s 2012 Retrofit Awards

Three major architectural projects at the University of Birmingham where couchperrywilkes applied their environmental building expertise have all been shortlisted for a prestigious Architects’ Journal 2012 Retrofit Award.

Now in its third year, the Retrofit Awards champion the best in the creative re-use of buildings and construction and a total of 73 projects from across the UK have been shortlisted in 13 categories.

Each of the three buildings at the University of Birmingham campus have been designed by Associated Architects, with couchperrywilkes providing innovative environmental mechanical and engineering solutions.

In the higher education category, the two projects shortlisted are Gisbett Kapp and Muirhead Tower, while the improvements made at the University’s Metallurgy and Metals building have been recognised in the Listed Buildings/Structures Post War category.


Gisbett Kapp

couchperrywilkes carried out extensive work on the Gisbett Kapp building, home to the University’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering as part of a £7 million refurbishment.

Central to the design was couchperrywilkes thermal model, which assisted with improving insulation and air tightness, resulting in the building being awarded an Energy Performance Certificate rating of B.

Engineers also maximised the U-values, air permeability and glazing performance in addition to improving mechanical and electrical services. The project concluded with a building that was lifted from a DEC (Display Energy Certificate) of F.


Muirhead Tower

At the 16-storey Muirhead Tower, couchperrywilkes was responsible for the complete redesign of the mechanical and engineering aspects of the £28 million programme.

The remodelled building incorporated a new double skin glazing systems that reduced solar gain.


Metallurgy & Metals Building

couchperrywilkes’ input on the Grade II-listed Metallurgy & Metals department, for which it advised, designed and developed a natural ventilation system with a night purge option, resulted in a building with maximum energy efficiency and fewer temperature fluctuations.


Simon Seaton-Smith, Director at couchperrywilkes’ Head Office in Birmingham said: “We have worked with Associated Architects for a number of years and always enjoyed a great working relationship, so we are delighted that three of our projects have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award.

Warren Jukes, Director at Associated Architects, added: ‘’The client vision for these buildings was to increase user comfort and deliver the highest energy performance possible within the restriction of the existing structures. Working with specialists at couchperrywilkes we were able to validate design principles, ensuring architectural and sustainability aspirations were delivered for the University”

The awards are announced on the September 12 at an awards dinner at The Brewery, London.

couchperrywilkes is committed to providing exemplar low and zero carbon design solutions and engaging with architects and clients to achieve the best possible outcome for the life of their buildings.