Mansfield College Oxford | The Hands Building

Mansfield College Oxford | The Hands Building

United Kingdom

This project consisted of a new build development providing 73 en-suite student bedrooms with common rooms, offices, and study areas for the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.

In addition, a 160-seat auditorium was incorporated for lectures, seminars, a cinema, a moot court, and a performing arts space.

The building used a traditional stone façade in keeping with the existing historical buildings at Mansfield College and has been designed to meet the strict planning requirements of Oxford City Council.

Introba (formerly Elementa Consulting) provided energy modeling services, building services design, and energy strategy advice for the development and monitoring services of the mechanical, electrical, and public health services installation on behalf of the College during construction.

Oxford City Council planning requirements dictated a maximum height of the building in keeping with surrounding buildings and targeted a National Resource Impact Assessment (NRIA) score of 11 (out of 11) for the building. These requirements, along with the introduction of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) construction and plant areas below ground level, threw up several interesting challenges for the design of the services.

Working closely with Rick Mather Architects and other design team members, and through regular workshops, collaborative information exchange, and careful coordination, Introba has developed the design of the services such that available space is used efficiently. In contrast, the services retain flexibility in use where appropriate.

Through modeling the complete building, Introba informed the design of the building envelope that it is thermally efficient and has developed the design of the services to be energy efficient while providing a pleasant environment for study and living. The building is designed to achieve an EPC rating of “B,” benefitting from incorporating air source heat pumps and a combined heat and power generator.

These renewable energy sources provide 40% of the building’s energy requirements. Using natural ventilation techniques wherever possible, generally via openable windows and wall louvers, and high-efficiency mechanical ventilation (incorporating heat recovery) only where necessary, the design of the services significantly contributes to the maximum score of 11 available under the NRIA.

The project has been a great example of collaboration between the client, design team, and contractor to ensure efficiency in design construction and operation.