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20 June 2012

The Guildford office of Lewis and Hickey are celebrating after winning a major award for their design of an M&S Simply Food store with ground-breaking green credentials – including a ‘living wall’, electric car charging points, and wildlife habitats.

Lewis and Hickey Architects won the coveted White Rose Award for Sustainability from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for designing the ‘first of a kind’ Marks & Spencer store in Sheffield.

The store, constructed on the site of a former car showroom and garage, was built using reclaimed bricks and retained 98% of the demolition materials on the site.

The RIBA awards celebrate the best in British architecture and judges praised the architects saying Lewis and Hickey had “given something back to the street in a form that is a model for others to learn from”.

John Meade, managing director at Lewis and Hickey and the project director Feargal O’Ceallaigh received the award. John said: “This is M&S’s first sustainable learning store where we were able to create a new building which reflects the company’s ‘Plan A’ green commitments.  Lewis and Hickey relished the opportunity to work with Marks & Spencer on this project. The whole team was able to challenge the nature of retail shopping and trial new and alternate solutions for the Simply Food format.  The building takes a simple form; built from second hand bricks with new interior wall and floor finishes. A unique heat reclamation system, reusing waste heat from refrigeration systems heats the staff offices and water supply.”

The unique project became a real community focus, said John, with local school children regularly visiting during the construction programme to see the building coming together.

The project, says M&S, “pushes new boundaries in terms of sustainability an innovation,” and includes:

• an exterior and interior LED lighting system – one of the first in Europe and the first in the UK. 100% of the store’s powered lighting comes from LEDs, giving a 25% energy saving.
• a green roof and living wall, including 62 different species of native plants.
• rainwater collection system to flush toilets and irrigate the outside living wall. This will help reduce water supply costs by 40%.
• bird boxes and insect chambers to attract more wildlife to the site
• reclaimed timber which was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified – ensuring that 100% of the wood used in construction was from sustainable sources
• trolley parks made from reclaimed timber and steel and covered with a sedum roof to encourage biodiversity
• pleached trees to provide natural shade for the M&S cafe
• sustainable cycle shelters, electric car charging points – and real time travel advice for customers using public transport

The design of the Ecclesall Road store set out to reduce the amount of materials used in the construction and reduce energy consumption in use. Painted signage, reclaimed bricks, sedum roofs and a living wall created a building which re-engages with the community and the service found in the historic high street grocers’ store, said John.

The store, which achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating is expected to have reduced running costs from its green technologies.

Munish Datta, head of property Plan A at Marks and Spencer, said: “This store represents a big milestone in our sustainable construction programme as we are installing a host of unique technologies and features. Each of these sustainable features is remarkable in its own right. By brining them all together in one development, something that is rarely done by retailers, we will achieve a whole that is worth far more than the sum of its parts. The learning we have taken from building the store, coupled with those we will make over its lifetime, will help us achieve our goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.”

The scheme is one in a long line of projects that Lewis and Hickey has carried out for Marks & Spencer. Lewis and Hickey, which has offices across the UK and overseas, has a strong working relationship with the retailer, celebrating its 90th year of working with Marks & Spencer in the UK.

The RIBA Midlands Awards Ceremony 2012 is the most prestigious architectural awards event covering Yorkshire, the North East and the North West.

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