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Cornwall's architecture highlighted

Architecture Week 2006 starts on June 16th and to celebrate it the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has chosen to highlight five exciting and inspirational buildings.

Architecture Week, an Arts Council England and Royal Institute of British Architects initiative in association with the Architecture Centre Network, is an annual national public celebration of contemporary architecture that began in 1997.

In Cornwall, with the use of Objective One investment, many outstanding buildings have been constructed or reinvigorated with environmentally friendly features and high quality materials.

Listed below are five of these buildings. Many have won or been short listed for architecture awards and all are visually stunning and fit in well with Cornwall's beautiful landscapes.

Eden Core - photo by Ben FosterThe Eden Project Core
The Eden Project's groundbreaking Biomes were built using investment from the Objective One predecessor in Cornwall, Objective 5b. The £15 million Core was built using £1 million of Objective One investment and is to be the focus of all education at the world famous visitor attraction. The design is based on the fundamental rule of how plants grow, incorporating a central trunk and canopy roof that shades the ground and harvests the sun. The most striking feature - the roof created from an intricate web of curved timber beams - is based on Fibonacci spirals, a pattern found in many natural forms including the seeds of a sunflower head, pine cones and snail shells. The Core is a model of sustainability. The structure is a network of double-curved beams from Forestry Stewardship Council-sourced spruce from Switzerland. The copper for the roof panels comes from a single source - one of the world's most sustainable mines, in Kennecott, Utah. The wall tiles are made of Devon clay and are decorated with the handprints of visitors who helped make them. Other green features include rainwater collection to flush the toilets, photovoltaic panels, and green floor tiles made from recycled beer bottles. Main contractor McAlpine JV recycled 55% of their own waste. The Core was a winner in the Project of the Year category of the 2006 Michelmores Western Morning News Commercial Property Awards.

Wheal Kitty WorkshopsWheal Kitty workshops Phase Two
The workshops are part of more than £26 million of Objective One investment that has gone into more than £76 million of workspace creation projects in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Wheal Kitty Phase Two, at the former tin mine on cliff tops at St Agnes, includes transformation of the grade II listed engine house into three-storey offices. All units are occupied with companies including a new radio station, surf board designers and website development, engineering research and personnel training. As a group of historic mine buildings in a beautiful landscape Wheal Kitty demanded a high standard of design and build. Environmental design features worthy of note include a ground source heat pump in the engine house; a grey water system; super insulation in the new build using a recycled paper product; a permeable car parking surface and local materials and timber from sustainable sources. The project has created 726 square metres of workspace, safeguarding 9 jobs and creating a further 31. Wheal Kitty was a winner in the Heritage Project of the Year category of the 2006 Michelmores Western Morning News Commercial Property Awards.

The Knowledge SpaKnowledge Spa
The Knowledge Spa is composed of the Cornwall third of the Peninsula Medical School as well as health-related business incubation units (which have received the Objective One investment); the Cornwall Campus of the University of Plymouth's Faculty of Health and Social Work and the Cornwall Centre for Lifelong Learning for Health and Social Care Personnel. It was short listed for the top prize in the 2005 Michelmores Western Morning News Commercial Property Awards. A sustainable approach was adopted to keep energy costs low. This includes energy conservation - summertime cooling is achieved by drawing cool night-time air into the building through vents and allowing it to pass across exposed concrete ceilings of the main floor slabs. The mass of the structure remains cool the following day delaying the heat build-up in the building and avoiding the requirement for expensive air conditioning. Natural ventilation is also used extensively. Low maintenance external materials have been used throughout. For example, external walls are finished in self-coloured blue or ivory render to avoid the need for redecoration. The central atrium is perhaps the most exciting and widely publicised design feature. It allows natural daylight to permeate the main three floor levels so the central entrance hall is always bright and welcoming. Many of the principal spaces are naturally lit by both windows in the external walls and the central atrium. The atrium also encourages communication and awareness of activity in the building. Another prominent design feature on the external walls is the 'brise soleil' or solar shades. These run around the curved west elevation and are particularly visible from the main road leading into Truro.

Computer generated image of the interior design of the Fifteen Cornwall restaurantFifteen Cornwall
This is housed in what was the upper floor of the successful Beach Hut Bistro at the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay. With its floor to ceiling windows overlooking the vast expanse of Watergate Bay beach, near Newquay, the restaurant interior has been created by Falmouth-based Absolute Design. Reclaimed walnut timber is used throughout. Following the highly successful format of Jamie Oliver's brilliant social enterprise in London, the restaurant will serve top quality food and aims to support disadvantaged young people and Cornwall's tourism industry and food producers. Every year up to 20 Cornish students aged between 16 and 24 who have previously been unemployed, not in full-time education and come from disadvantaged backgrounds will have the opportunity to train and work in the restaurant, supported by professional chefs and college training. All the profits from the restaurant will go to the Cornwall Foundation of Promise to support the training of more Fifteen Cornwall trainees. Fifteen Cornwall is scheduled to open in May 2006 and will feature a menu that will focus on the best of Cornwall's seasonal local produce. The project is committed to reducing food miles and promoting local and regional supply chains and it is anticipated that approximately 80% of food will be sourced locally. Environmental features include wind turbines generating a third of all electricity for the project; high-grade insulation in the roof, walls and floor; a grey water system that will capture and store water from the roof which will be used to flush toilets; a unique 100% LED lighting system that is fully dimmable meaning that 80% of electricity normally used through lighting can be saved; a 100% recycling policy on goods that can be recycled such as glass, cardboard etc. Fifteen Cornwall has set-up a special recycling depot and developed a 'recycle bubble' pod carrier to transport all of the waste to this depot. There will also be a no tolerance policy on certain materials used in packaging such as polystyrene which will be refused on site.

Aerial view of Tremough CampusCombined Universities in Cornwall, Tremough Campus
CUC was Objective One's flagship project and Tremough is a groundbreaking building which reflects the campus' joint usage by two higher education institutions, the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth. The main academic building is thoroughly modern in concept and design. It has angles, curves, ramps and unexpected corners, as well as open spaces among the teaching rooms, laboratories and studios. The building sits back into the Tremough hillside, to reduce its impact on the landscape, and has a planted roof to absorb rainfall. Natural light and natural ventilation are used wherever possible to reduce energy usage. The exterior walls incorporate reclaimed stone from local quarries and are clad in wood and glass, including a glass wall 200 feet (65m) long that separates University College Falmouth's Design Centre from the central courtyard. The Design Centre occupies about one third of the total building. The open-plan layout of the design studios results from discussions between the architects and the teaching staff of University College Falmouth. Jonathan Adams, of Percy Thomas Architects, said, "Teaching staff felt it was important to remove the barriers between different subjects and to encourage the sharing of ideas. The stepped arrangement of the studios allows for a balance of inward-looking concentration and outward-looking collaboration." Tremough was South West Winner in the Regeneration Category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors regional awards 2005.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media Relations Manager, Objective One Partnership Office. Tel: 01872 223439 / 07973 813647. Email:

The Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Eden Project Core, Wheal Kitty Workshops phase two, The Knowledge Spa, Fifteen Cornwall and the Combined Universities in Cornwall through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Editor's notes:


Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was awarded Objective One status because its GVA (a way of measuring wealth creation) was below 75% of the EU average. The aim of the Objective One Programme is to raise wealth in the region.


Jolyon Brewis and Jerry Tate, of Grimshaw Architects, London

Joint venture contractors:
Alfred McAlpine and Sir Robert McAlpine

SKM Anthony Hunts and Buro Happold

The Core has taken two years to construct at a cost of £15 million. Grimshaw Architects also designed the stunning Biomes.

Major sponsors are the Millennium Commission (£10.5 million), South West Regional Development Agency (£2.9 million) and the European Regional Development Fund, via Objective One (£1 million). Other donations have come from The Energy Saving Trust, EDF Energy, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Kellogs and Misses Barrie Charitable Trust.

The Eden team behind The Core is led by Director of Learning Jo Readman and General Manager George Elworthy. Devon-based artist Peter Randall-Page has played a key role in the design and is now fashioning a 160-tonne lump of granite into a seed shape which when finished will be lowered by crane into The Core's central chamber.

In addition to The Core, the £25million Phase 4 programme includes the following new/upgrade works to the existing facilities: Additional roads and car parks, waste recycling centre, staff facilities building, Biome link alterations, link canopy, visitor centre street works and staff facilities.


Lilly Lewarne Practice, of Truro

K H J Trethewey & Sons of St Erne

Wheal Kitty Workshops Phase II cost £1,032,000. Apart from Objective One, investment also came from the South West Regional Development Agency and Penwith District and the Isles of Scilly councils. Practical completion was achieved on June 1, 2005 – two days ahead of schedule and within budget.

Tenants include:

Impact Solutions
Surfers Against Sewage
Cornish Art Prints
World of Camping
Beach Beat Surfboards
AC Systems
Atlantic FM  


Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole, of St Ives, Cornwall, partnered by health specialists Nightingale Associates and environmental consultants Hoare Lea and Partners

Mowlem Building, Falmouth Office

The Knowledge Spa business incubation units received £1.25 million Objective One ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) investment and an equal amount from the South West Regional Development Agency. Initially four units were built with a hot desk area that was later converted to more than double the amount of units, because of high demand.

The Knowledge Spa was also built with investment including more than £5,500,000 from the NHS, almost £3 million from the University of Plymouth, £1 million from the Duchy Health Charity Limited and £500,000 from Cornwall County Council. There are also other significant additional contributions from Cornwall College, Devon and Cornwall Learning and Skills Council and the NHS Workforce Confederation.

Alongside the educational benefits, the Knowledge Spa is expected have a major impact on the local economy attracting upwards of 400 jobs and bringing in around £30 million into Cornwall within 5-10 years of its opening. Around 250 of the jobs will be created through research and business start-up activity which are expected to contribute £22 million to the local economy


DPDS, of Swindon

Absolute Design, of Falmouth, Cornwall

The investment package for the capital build includes £545,430 from Objective One ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and £482,400 from the South West RDA, subject to final contracts being signed. Additional funding has come from Restormel Borough Council, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council and the Cornwall Foundation of Promise, which will operate the restaurant.

Each autumn a new intake of 20 trainees will be taken on by Fifteen Cornwall to start their training at Cornwall College and work at the restaurant in Watergate Bay. Their training will include 12 weeks of full-time education, four weeks of work placement with college monitoring and assessment, and 50 weeks of work-based training at Fifteen Cornwall, supported by professional chefs to offer one-to-one training and support.


Percy Thomas Architects of Cardiff

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd

Consulting engineer:
Buro Happold, of Bath

The Combined Universities in Cornwall has enabled a major expansion of university education in Cornwall. CUC, with Tremough as the hub, is a partnership that combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Of the £49 million to build Tremough, £28 million came from Objective One. There are currently 2,472 students attending the University of Exeter courses in Cornwall and attending University College Falmouth courses. The additional courses enabled by CUC Phase 2 will grow this number to over 4000 in 2009.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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