Sustainable Meeting Pods — The Campus, Cherrywood
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Innovation in Built Structures
Structures & Spaces
Spear Street Capital
Architect: Benjamin Thomas (MOLA Architecture)
Client: Spear Street Capital
Project Manager: Scollard Doyle
Landscape Architect: Murray and Associates
Structural Engineer: Bakkala Engineers
Facade Consultant: Billings Design Associates
M&E & Environmental Engineer: O’Connor Sutton Cronin
Fire Consultant: Maurice Johnson & Partners
Contractor: ClearyDoyle Construction
Photographer: Donal Murphy
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
The Meeting Pods are located within The Campus, Cherrywood (formally Cherrywood Business Park) and offer biophilic inspired meeting spaces for the business park tenants, nestled within tree canopies and adjacent to the lake. The brief was to introduce inspirational meeting areas which positively impact the business park tenants experience within the masterplan of The Campus.
Instead of creating a larger, more consolidated building with a large footprint, initial studies were carried out to explore the potential of decentralising the architectural approach, minimising the environmental impact and optimising the user experience. The result has been extremely successful in terms of sustainability and wellness, and a model for future growth within the business park.
Meeting the objective of fostering interaction and well-being in a biophilic environment, the pods demonstrate sustainable practices in harmony with their natural environment.
How the brief was fulfilled
The pods provide inspirational meeting spaces, surrounded by nature at the edge of the business park. They have been designed to positively impact the user experience, increasing productivity, wellbeing and engagement.
The pods harness renewable energy through solar panels, vertical-axis wind turbines and battery storage, essentially performing as micro-generation power stations.
Each pod produces 300% of its energy requirements, throughout the year.
Surplus energy is redirected to the upgraded sitewide external lighting. The electrically heated concrete floor utilises thermal mass for diurnal temperature control, with automated louvres providing natural ventilation. A digital power generation readout within the pods provides an indication of the current energy production, making it an interactive and positive experience. Environmental computer modelling was used to simulate environmental conditions, allowing design optimisation. The Pods are elevated on concrete columns, minimising their ecological footprint and impact.
Glue-laminated timber fins wrap facade to reduce solar gain – without interrupting the views. Each pod is accessed via corten steel bridges, known for its distinctive rusted appearance. The alloy’s natural weathering process oxidises over time, ensuring longevity and reduced maintenance, minimizing resource consumption. Each material, carefully chosen as part of a sustainable strategy, which involves a reduction of embodied carbon, while providing a robustness and longevity.
Universal design has been thoroughly considered. The pods are accessed via an app-based booking system. A pin number is sent to the user, and the entrance door opens. The internal circulation area has been designed to accommodate multiple wheelchair users, with all controls within easy reach.
The pods complete life-cycle has been considered as they are able to be fully recycled at the end of their life due to the choice of materials and fabrication strategies. Reducing a building’s impact on the landscape is of paramount importance for environmental sustainability and preserving natural ecosystems.
Sustainable architecture extends beyond the spaces it creates. It has the power to influence future projects to consider a different approach. If we are to succeed in creating a truly sustainable world, our Architecture should encompass new technologies, strategies and environmental science.
Fantastic use of an overlapping strategy for energy usage and materiality giving a superb space that generates as well as conserves. Beautiful spaces so well conceived and beautifully positioned within the landscape."