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Thermal Performance Analysis for Brutalist Housing Scheme

Greengauge are delighted to be providing thermal performance and hygrothermal risk analysis services for Phase 2 of the re-development of ‘Park Hill’, the iconic brutalist housing scheme in Sheffield.

Greengauge are working with Urban Splash and Mikhail Riches Architects to breathe new life into a large portion of the building as part of a phased approach. Phase 1 was completed around eight years ago with Hawkins\Brown Architects. Mikhail Riches won the design competition for Phase 2 and are adopting a relatively light touch approach retaining the most of the brickwork and configuration, while creating contemporary dwellings.

Greengauge have been brought in to provide independent, expert design advice and support on the major challenges around insulating the building to improve thermal comfort and reduce heating costs and carbon emissions.

English Heritage have a strong interest in the building, and unusually the concrete frame alone is listed. This means over-cladding is not acceptable, and to improve thermal performance all treatments must be internal to the flats. The concept behind the original building is simple and well-executed (thermal performance aside). There is an ‘expressed’ concrete frame based on 3m bays, with stairs within the dwellings arranged around a ‘H’ core. In section, the building is organised in groups of 3 stories, each centred on Corbusian ‘streets in the sky’. The street-side façade of the dwellings is generally quite flat (albeit interrupted by the frame), but the opposite elevation is articulated to form both charming balconies, and thermal challenges!

Our initial analysis is confirming our predictions that the thermal bridging, in 2D and 3D is a significant portion of the heatloss and must be considered in parallel with the IWI strategy. We will be bringing together all of our tools, skills and knowledge on this unique and exciting project.

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