Working With A Genius
Guy Battle (Battle McCarthy) & Christopher McCarthy (Battle McCarthy)


Ionica Building, Cambridge. Architects, R.H. Partnership

©Will Alsop & Battle McCarthy

CM: I'm Christopher McCarthy, structural engineer. GB: And I'm Guy Battle, environmental and building services engineer. CM: Both of us worked for Ove Arup & Partners and since then we've established our own practice. GB: The practice is called Battle McCarthy and one of the key factors is that we, rather than using mechanical systems to control internal environments, we look at how we can use the structure of a building to moderate the climate and create comfort and environmental quality within our buildings. CM: The slide showing the Ionica headquarters building which is our first completed project, in this building the ingredients were sun, sound, wind and heat. You see the protrusions which Guy can describe in more detail. GB: Yes, we're looking at the south facade at the moment and you can see how we've got external shade to keep the sun out; we've also got systems to control light. But the extensions at the top of the roof are actually wind tunnels and these have formed the major architectural element, an environmental generator if you like, to the architecture and they drive the ventilation, natural ventilation through the building and up out of the tower itself And they form a very strong structural element within the building as well as environmental form as well.


D'Hautree School. Architects, Plincke Leaman & Browning. Daylight Massing Testing

©Will Alsop & Battle McCarthy

CM: Moving on to the next slide, this shows the project we're presently working on, the D'Hautree School in Jersey with Plincke, Leaman & Browning. A school consists of many different functions. You have sports halls, you have lecture theatres, you have technology centres, you have swimming pools. And each of these functions requires a different response to the climate: obviously with a theatre, you want to control daylight; on the other hand, looking at the art centre, you want the quality of light. Now, for that reason, are we surprised that the school then starts to develop into many different building blocks? Far away from the comprehensive block that contains all identity, this development reflects each of the functions. GB: The buildings not only reflect the function that is contained within, they also have been planned for a macro-environmental point of View. And that's something, as a practice, we look at very carefully. Buildings should not be considered as isolated units sitting in the environment. They are part of the environment, they not only affect the environment from the manner in which they use energy from a global point of view - carbon dioxide production and ozone depletion for instance - they also have an impact on the immediate environment with respect to wind, with respect to noise creation. So we look at the two scales, the micro, the building itself and within the building, but also the macro, how the building fits with the environment. And we extend that further and look at how the environment and landscape can be used in a much more positive manner. And this is an area where we begin to look at how the environment begins to shape buildings, the building form, which is not just generated from the function but also from its relationship to view, its relationship to sunshine and its relationship to wind as well.

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