Case Study

Environmental Strategy: Case Study

Adrian James Architects have won planning permission for the new Construction Centre at Shotton Works. The building will be the centre of operations for Corus Colors, the coatings & cladding division of Corus Group. It will house 180 staff currently housed in various buildings spread across the 250 hectare site.

Shotton Works

Corus has a strong environmental agenda with sustainability as one of its 4 core brand values and they have encouraged the design team to create a building which will be as sustainable as possible in all areas – but it has to be sensible in cost terms and pragmatic in use so it can be a model for their clients to follow.

4 Key Targets of Sustainability

Boosting the company’s connectivity and efficiency
The first intention is to catalyse a huge shift in working practice for the company. The new building will have 4 floors of open plan office space around a central atrium. By putting all staff together in one building, with everyone visible and accessible, the new building will reduce travel, massively increase efficiency across the organisation, and create total inclusivity and connectivity for all staff improving their sense of  involvement in and value to the company.

Shotton Works

Showcase for steel
The next intention is to demonstrate how steel can be used to address the new parameters of sustainability and buildability. Corus is keen to prove the environmental credentials of steel and the Corus coatings for steel. The foundations, structure and interior and exterior finishes are all steel, and all recyclable. There are many innovative but practical applications of steel including:

  • The floors will use a new coated steel profile Comflor 80 as permanent shuttering which will be the finished ceiling for the office decks.
  • The cladding will use a deep roofing profile, coated in one of a range of new colours, fitted in single sheets up the full height of the building.
  • The sunscreens will be made of expanded steel mesh veiling and protecting the office facades, as part of the energy strategy.

Energy efficiency
The third intention is the most demonstrable and measurable: to build an exemplar of sustainability reducing energy use and carbon footprint. This will firstly be done by maximising the potential of the immediate environment to save energy through innovation. The building is located at the entrance to the site in front of the vast sheds where the coatings operations take place, and beside a large freshwater lagoon. The new building makes the most of both these neighbours as innovative resources for energy:

  • Surplus steam and waste heat from the coatings plant will be harnessed for the heating and cooling needs of the new offices.
  • The existing lagoon will be used as the heat sink into which summer cooling load will be rejected.

The building is designed to be naturally ventilated: the open plan floorplates, high ceilings, exposed soffits and central atrium combine to make an excellent model for natural airflow.

The building is designed to be naturally lit: the open plan floorplates, high ceilings, and central atrium combine to bring daylight to all working areas.

Design & Longevity
The intention for the building to be a worthy centre of operations for a global company whose reputation is based on unrivalled quality.  But the company must progress, its structures and working practices must be able to adapt, and its buildings must be able to accommodate these changes. The new Construction Centre has clear floorplates so it can be easily reorganised and compartmentalised to suit whatever arrangement the organisation may require. The cladding and finishes internally and externally can be demounted and replaced over time: in fact the cladding does have an excellent lifespan, but not as long as the building structure. This building should be capable of adapting to whatever the future may have in store.


Corus have assembled a design team with excellent sustainability credentials, who together have evaluated every part of the building and its systems to find new ways to reduce the carbon footprint. The key players are:

Client: Corus Colors UK
Architect: Adrian James Architects
Structural Engineer: Integral Structural Design
Services  Engineer: Troup Bywaters & Anders
Quantity Surveyor: Willmott Dixon Construction