Bringing LSE's new Centre Buildings Redevelopment to life

The Centre Buildings Redevelopment for the London School of Economics ‘topped-out’ on Friday, July 6, with members of the ChapmanBDSP team that helped deliver the project at the ceremony.

In the run up to the topping-out ceremony, where the installation of the final piece of structure is recorded by placing a plaque, tree or other feature, our team discuss how they created world-class solutions - from concept, the facade, embodied carbon savings - that made the building, located in central London, more sustainable.

Architects RSH+P won the competition to design for the Centre Buildings Redevelopment in 2013 and ChapmanBDSP was appointed to provide MEP, environmental and lighting design services.

The new building provides new academic and teaching spaces as well as a public square and is due for completion in April 2019.

ChapmanBDSP’s team, including Lucy Vereenoogee, Neil Campbell, Kartikeya Rajput, Shashank Jain, Rachit Shah, Lee Manser and Herman Calleja, helped in delivering holistic environmental approach for the building.

Exemplary solutions included facade optimisation, embodied and operational carbon savings and creating a design that means more than 60 per cent of the building is naturally ventilated.

Below: the ChapmanBDSP's Kartikeya, Rajput, Lucy Vereenooghee, Rachit Shah and Lee Manser, at the topping-out ceremony.


Kartikeya Rajput, senior environmental consultant at ChapmanBDSP, says the extensive studies in these images were key in informing the concept and design.

He said: 'When we get a design brief our approach has always been to try and extract the best environmental features.' We helped achieve an integrated passive design approach and addressed aesthetic, buildability and cost targets of the building.'


Image one: Concept sketch showing environmental design features of LSE CBR by ChapmanBDSP associate Shashank Jain.

Image two: ‘Annual solar irradiation on facades of LSE CBR, identifying extent of solar exposure which formed the framework for the extensive shading design aligned with solar movement.


By changing the angle and depth of the shading panels, the team managed to get the façade to perform at the same level while using less material.

It meant the façade became more economical and, by reducing the structural requirement, the embodied carbon, more sustainable.

Kartikeya Rajput, senior environmental consultant at ChapmanBDSP, said: ‘It was a great achievement for all the team and just one example of the value-added we brought to the project.’

Image 3: 'Parametric modelling through a Grasshopper platform was carried out to optimise the shading devices design to reduce overheating risk with the minimum use of materials. This resulted in a varying shading fin depth. Allowing the more sheltered lower offices to achieve the necessary day-lighting levels.' Herman Calleja, ChapmanBDSP

Image 4: 'The images illustrate studies undertaken on the design development of the external shading (fins) with the architects and how the design can be improved in relation to a wide number of perspectives including aesthetics, material efficiency, structural systems and buildability whilst still maintaining a level of solar protection and daylight. The study is an iterative analysis of different shading designs and varying fin tilt which considers the use of irradiation analysis over the glazed façade during the summer period in tandem with day-lighting analysis on the floor.' Kartikeya Rajput, ChapmanBDSP

Embodied carbon savings

One important aspect on this, and any project, is sustainability and reducing embodied carbon during the various stages of design. The ChapmanBDSP was able to do this through a number of ways, including developing a bespoke tool for the scheme.

Kartikeya Rajput said: 'The construction, demolition and disposal of buildings interacts with the wider natural, economic and social environment as the building life cycle requires raw materials, energy, labour, technology and capital. The LSE-CBR Embodied Carbon Assessment focuses on the environmental impacts of the stages (A1-A3) of a building life. It quantifies material quantity, resource inflows and identifies any potential improvements aimed at mitigating impacts.'

Image 5: 'We developed a bespoke tool for CBR which summarising the breakdown of the embodied carbon in building components, elements, materials and sub-elements. It tracks the embodied carbon for the building during the design stages and aims to quantify the carbon footprint of the materials and their composition within the building elements, forming an improved understanding of the critical areas for the design team.' Kartikeya Rajput


Image 6: 'The graphic shows the overall embodied carbon footprint of the building in the product stage and provides breakdown of the building elements contribution. The diagram shown opposite compares the quantity (i.e. weight in kg) of the different ‘materials’ to their embodied carbon impact and provides useful insights on the selection of the building material palette. For example, the energy intensive nature of aluminum production can be seen in that it contributes less than 1 per cent by mass, but almost 19 per cent of the embodied carbon impact.' Kartikeya Rajput, ChapmanBDSP


Image 7: “The five most carbon critical ‘materials’ are shown in this study which put together accounts for 92 per cent of the product stage embodied carbon. The bar charts provides more detailed information about where these materials are applied. It can be seen that the (reinforced concrete) slabs in the building are the biggest single contributor, followed by piles and walls. Material efficiency in terms of the design of the super-structure and sub-structure have a major impact on overall embodied carbon and therefore much of an emphasis is given in finding reduction in these areas. Aluminum which was contributing to about 19 per cent of the embodied carbon and about one third of which is in the shading fins. By changing the design of the fin we were able to use less material and therefore reduce the amount of embodied carbon.” Kartikeya Rajput, ChapmanBDSP

Bringing LSE's new Centre Buildings Redevelopment to life