The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

High Performing Buildings – July’s Roundup

High Performing Buildings – July’s Roundup
28 July 2022

This month’s roundup includes the first ever WELL Gold certified high school in the USA, the first new build west end theatre in 50 years and the world’s most environmentally friendly furniture factory.


Watch the Video



WELL Gold Certified School


Sandy Spring Friends School’s new Pen y Bryn Upper School in Maryland, designed by global integrated design firm Stantec, recently earned WELL Gold certification, the first school to do so in the USA.

Students and teachers have access to a wide variety of spaces, including open or closed collaboration areas with dynamic lighting solutions and flexible, ergonomic, and adaptable furniture.

The school’s design features a biophilic strategy that captures nature through outside views from classrooms, offices, social areas, and stair towers. A covered front porch next to the meditation garden, a sunny maker-space patio to the west, and a quiet roof terrace on the third floor extend learning to the outdoors. The interior palette is inspired by the school’s ropes course, a well-known local amenity, and incorporates large areas of ash wood walls created from trees reclaimed on-site.

It’s also a net-zero energy ready facility, where the total amount of energy used by the building annually is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site or nearby.



Picture: a photograph of the exterior of the school building. Image Credit: Stantec


The First New Build West End Theatre in 50 Years


@sohoplace, a building project 12 years in the making, is set to open in autumn 2022, making it the first new-build west end theatre in 50 years.

Owned by Nica Burns and operated by Nimax Theatres, the theatre is adjacent to the site of the old Astoria theatre which was demolished to build Crossrail. In fact, the auditorium sits directly above Crossrail’s new Elizabeth line and the existing Northern and Central lines at Tottenham Court Road station, a major transport hub. In addition, Crossrail’s huge ventilation fans extracting the hot air from the platform below and working full-time 365 days a year are also adjacent to the auditorium, adding additional challenges for the developers.

The theatre is at the heart of Derwent London’s £300 million mixed development regeneration project, which will also feature offices, retail spaces and a new piazza.

@sohoplace will boast perfect sightlines from every seat with no obscured views and a curved auditorium. Everything in the theatre is built using BREEAM standards.



Picture: a photograph from inside the auditorium of the new theatre, showing seats and the curved style. Image Credit: Tim Soar


Nica Burns, Theatre owner said: “I wanted to create a theatre which could add a different dimension to our vibrant West End landscape. I asked our greatest theatre creatives two questions: If we could build a new theatre in the heart of the West End, what would you like it to be? What additional facilities would be on your wish list?

“They dreamt of a flexible auditorium, perfect acoustics and audience / stage intimacy. An ability to create on-site with the dream of a rehearsal room, a Green Room and a bar all in the same building. So that’s what we built – with a few extras including an outside terrace.”

“The incredible team of engineers pulled off the greatest of structural feats, building over a major underground transport hub – a challenging place to build a theatre – achieving perfect acoustics and no vibrations”.

The World’s Greenest Furniture Factory


In Norway, the doors have opened to the world’s most environmentally friendly furniture factory: “The Plus”.

The factory is both a global showcase for sustainability and highly efficient manufacturing and is on course to become the world’s first project of its type to achieve the highest BREEAM environmental classification of “Outstanding”. 

“The Plus is a factory for the people! This is a project we have put our hearts and souls into,” says Stefan Tjust, CEO of furniture manufacturer Vestre.



Picture: a photograph of the interior of the factory, showing a packing area. Image Credit: BIG/Vestre


The factory is shaped like a giant plus symbol, with each stage in the production process taking place in the four factory wings.

Sustainability and openness have guided every aspect of the factory – from the design of working conditions to the accommodation of electric heavy goods vehicles and the management of the surrounding forest. Together, Vestre and architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have thereby created an entirely new typology, where people, production, technology, architecture and nature are completely integrated in each other.

The facility has been built as a “plus house”, which means that the building’s energy consumption is 60 per cent lower than equivalent conventional factories, while releasing 55 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than similar buildings.

If you include the manufacturing equipment, energy consumption in “The Plus” is reduced by 90 per cent.

Main Picture: a photograph of the exterior of “The Plus” taken from the air. Image Credit: BIG/Vestre

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 28 July 2022


Related Articles

High Performing Buildings – August’s Roundup  

This month’s high-performing buildings roundup features one of the world’s tallest buildings, a futuristic stackable car park and a new development on Pall...

 Read Full Article
First UK Commercial Building to Achieve the Top Three Wellbeing Certifications 

Bloom Clerkenwell has become the first commercial building in the UK to achieve the highest accreditations for wellbeing, sustainability and digital...

 Read Full Article
Royal Albert Hall First Historic Building in Europe to Gain Facilities Operations Standard

The Royal Albert Hall has earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management through...

 Read Full Article
Chicago's Smartest Building

800 Fulton Market, a gateway to one of Chicago’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods, has been completed.   Watch the...

 Read Full Article
UK’s Largest 100% Electric Net-Zero Office Set For 2026

A £400 million development finance facility to fund 105 Victoria Street means building work will commence this year, with Skanska as the main contractor. Welput,...

 Read Full Article
High Performing Buildings – February’s Roundup

TWinFM’s February high performing buildings roundup explores building excellence across German cities.   Watch the...

 Read Full Article
Holbein Gardens – London's All-Electric Building

Holbein Gardens, located at 7 Holbein Place in the heart of London’s Belgravia, will lead the way for future schemes on the road to achieving net-zero...

 Read Full Article
Pandemic Mode for Buildings  – The World's Safest Offices

Imagine an office where, in the event of a pandemic, an app will inform tenants that the air conditioning is running on fresh air only and disinfecting UV lamps have been...

 Read Full Article
High-Performing Buildings – August's Roundup

As building owners look to attract employees back to workplaces with enhanced amenities and flexible office space, there is renewed interest in high-performance buildings...

 Read Full Article
London’s Best Workplaces Named at BCO Regional Awards

London’s most outstanding workplaces have been announced at the British Council for Offices Regional Awards. The awards recognise projects that demonstrate best...

 Read Full Article