By Grace van der Zwart
From hotels to universities and office developments to schools, our teams have worked on some fantastic projects in the UK in 2023. In doing so, we have demonstrated excellence in various engineering and consulting services, from mechanical, electrical, fire engineering, and energy modelling to the leading edge of sustainability (Passivhaus Plus) and lighting design.
Here are ten projects that made an impact on our clients:
Completed in 2023
1. RH England, Oxfordshire
What was the challenge? Updating and enhancing the profile of a historic manor house in the Cotswolds, England's largest area of outstanding natural beauty.
How did we meet it? We collaborated closely with the client to ensure that the highest standards of engineering excellence were achieved without compromising the heritage elements of the property. For example, we replaced ageing, oil-fed heating and hot water with modern, efficient gas boilers. Modern, state-of-the-art electrical systems replaced the building's electrical infrastructure, a completely new lighting design, socket outlets, and a fully operational L1 fire alarm system. The manor is now a gallery space with six restaurants and a picturesque, terraced area complete with a wood-fired pizza oven.
2. The BoTree Hotel, London
What was the challenge? Working with the client to deliver a new, eco-conscious boutique hotel in the heart of London.
How did we meet it? We undertook extensive dynamic thermal modelling, working closely with suppliers and the operational and broader design teams. As a result, an all-electric heat pump system was integrated as an energy-sharing solution that combines heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. The hotel's variable airflow and extract ventilation also adhere to the WELL-enhanced ventilation standards, creating a safe and comfortable environment for guests. The hotel, which includes a rooftop swimming pool, restaurant, and bar that offer panoramic views of London, opened in September 2023.
3. Cheng Yu Tung Building, Jesus College, Oxford University
What was the challenge? Extending part of the college's historic site in a new development will transform how the Fellows teach, how the students learn, and support the university's world-leading academic research.
How did we meet it? We worked very closely with key stakeholders, the local authority, and the design team to produce a bespoke sustainability strategy statement that met the occupants' needs and went far beyond current planning requirements and legislation. At the same time, our design team produced a modern, all-electric solution with ground and air source heat pumps, high-performance materials, and on-site renewables, resulting in a low-energy building. The building won Project of the Year at the OxPropFest Awards 2023.
4. 150 Holborn, London
What was the challenge? Replacing a 1980s office block with a modern, mixed-use development that is mainly office space but incorporates public retail, café, and exhibition space on the ground floor and a private landscaped roof terrace above with excellent views.
How did we meet it? The development has areas overshadowed by surrounding buildings and areas with high solar exposure. At the detailed design stage, we worked closely with architects Perkins & Will, providing simulation results in Radiance and IES-VE that were incorporated into their design thinking. This ensures that the lower levels receive good-quality daylight and that the upper levels are protected from solar gains. We were also brought in as a third-party reviewer of the fire strategy for this development with a critical focus on the office building.
5. Marshgate, University College London, London
What was the challenge? Creating a cross-disciplinary and collaborative educational environment geared to finding solutions to today's biggest social, environmental, and technological challenges.
How did we meet it? As the technical supervisor, we monitored compliance for this eight-story educational development, the largest in UCL's 200-year history. In doing so, we reviewed the contractor design development drawings and technical submittals, overseeing the service installation quality and handover. Marshgate opened in September 2023 and is home to hi-tech, cross-disciplinary research labs, teaching areas, workshops, collaboration spaces, a library, and a refectory.
6. Marjorie McClure School, London
What was the challenge? Developing a new all-age school that can cater to a diverse range of SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) students aged from 4 to 19 years old.
How did we meet it? The project is part of the Sustainability Pilot Scheme, developed in response to the UK government's target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In response, we set energy use intensity targets aligned with the Low Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) guidance. Combined with a highly optimised façade performance, our design team developed a services strategy to minimise energy consumption. The building is naturally ventilated in summer with a central heat recovery mechanical solution for winter and an air source heat pump system to provide heating via the ventilation air.
7. Hotel AMANO, Covent Garden, London
What was the challenge? Converting an office building into AMANO's first UK hotel, giving it new life using a low carbon approach.
How did we meet it? We provided electrical, mechanical, and plumbing engineering and sustainability consulting services for the Berlin-based hotel company. The external plant design needed careful detailing with the planners due to noise and visual sensitivities while still maximising the roof for amenity use. The resulting rooftop bar is a big draw, with fantastic views of the heart of England's capital city.
8. Hackbridge Primary School, Wallington
What was the challenge? Delivering the UK's first true net Zero Carbon school and the first to be certified as Passivhaus Plus.
How did we meet it? We carefully considered materials, ensuring they were healthy, had low embodied energy, and were easy to construct and maintain. We provided the project's mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting design, commissioning, and design analytics services. To achieve net Zero Carbon, the design applied rigorous Passivhaus building envelope insulation and air tightness requirements, with triple-glazed windows to enhance thermal comfort and provide excellent daylighting. The school has also been shortlisted for the CIBSE Building Performance Award Project of the Year (Public Use) category and winner in the non-domestic category at the UK Passivhaus Awards 2023.
Learn more about the Hackbridge Primary School project.
9. Skyscanner, Ilona House, London
What was the challenge? Creating a new office and technology hub that reflected our client's hybrid working culture.
How did we meet it? The project — part of Soho Estates' flagship office development — embraced eco-friendly technology for heating and cooling by featuring ground-source heat pumps and air-source heat pumps. The work exemplified precision in design and installation to meet client-specific demands, such as the innovative lighting with its raceway system creating gentle curves along the ceiling to enhance the space's distinctive ambience. We also designed sound-proofed pods to help staff make video calls straightforward with the client's other global offices.
10. Delivering Net Zero study, London
What was the challenge? Creating emerging policy planning options for 18 London boroughs aiming to deliver net Zero Carbon development.
How did we meet it? We worked with four other consultancies (Etude, Levitt Bernstein, Currie and Brown, and Inkling) to explore two primary options: standard energy policy or absolute energy targets. After studying eight different building archetypes — four domestic (terrace house, low-rise, mid-rise, high-rise apartment blocks) and four non-domestic (office, industrial, school and hotel) — the team recommended option 2 as the way ahead.