Project Overview

Working in collaboration with Fletcher Priest Architects, Derwent London drew inspiration for the Brunel Building from its setting by the Grand Union Canal and adjacency to Paddington Station, and agreed that the design demanded a robust construction which reflected the spirit of the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Fletcher Priest’s proposal for a steel exoskeleton was as much a move to create a striking landmark as it was a response to the complex ground conditions with tube tunnels below. Apart from helping us create an abundance of volume and light, including 3.47m floor to ceiling heights, it also enabled column-free floor space which has given the occupiers significant flexibility in their fit-outs.

With the focus on communities, whether occupiers or visitors, the design took the opportunity of facing directly towards the canal and a new section of towpath – a key feature which enhances the amenity of the building for all. To complement this, extremely large, sliding hangar-type doors were introduced so that the reception area and double-height restaurant can directly interact with the canal side.

Sustainability was at the core of Brunel Building’s design, particularly through reducing emissions. A variety of solutions including an aquifer thermal storage system, strategic thermal mass placement, and using recycled/reused materials contributed to lowering the project’s carbon footprint.


  • The building achieved a BREEAM 2014 ‘Excellent’ rating, a Wired ‘Platinum’ rating and a LEED ‘Gold’ rating.
  • Operational and embodied carbon assessments were completed during the early stages of the project to identify opportunities for reducing carbon emissions throughout the design process.
  • An aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) system utilising two 180m-deep boreholes provides low carbon heating and cooling to the building, taking advance of the stable ground temperatures.
  • Low energy fan coil units can be individually controlled to improve energy consumption and comfort.
  • Exposed concrete soffits and thermal mass improve occupancy comfort during heat wave conditions.
  • The estimated operational energy consumption could achieve a 71% improvement over the energy benchmark of a typical Econ19 office fit out, and a 54% improvement over a good practice fit out.
  • Exposing the structure both internally and externally helped to reduce embodied carbon. Avoiding suspended ceilings saved 540 tCO2e, fly ash replacement in the concrete saved over 1,000 tCO2e and employing self-finishing concrete saved 18 tCO2
  • A high-level health and wellbeing review was carried out on the base build to ensure the building was WELL enabled should a tenant wish to achieve the certification for their fitout areas.
  • More than 98% of construction waste was recycled.
  • Grey water from the showers is recycled and used to flush the WCs which reduces the potable water demand by up to 30%.
  • Aluminium used in the façade contained 65% recycled content.
  • A sustainable procurement policy was in place during construction which included requirements for: responsibly sourced materials, materials with a high recycled content, regional materials and waste minimisation and recycling.
  • By employing Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), the design team and contractor Laing O’Rourke were able to significantly reduce material waste onsite; more than 98% of construction waste was recycled.

For Further Information…

Please contact: Olivia Allen, Sustainability Manager