CoRE / Community Renewable Energy Project / Decarbonising in Cumnock, Scotland

Decarbonisation in Scotland

The design references the building typologies of barn and factory – the barn (right) serves as a container for research carried out in the factory (left)*
Planning permission granted / June 2022
Estimated completion / 2024
Gross Internal Floor Area
2036 sqm

CoRE aims to support innovation and research in energy and sustainability, becoming a pioneering exemplar for regeneration, community involvement and renewable technologies in Scotland and across the UK. Based in East Ayrshire, an area that has experienced severe economic deprivation, the project will help to decarbonise communities by developing energy systems of the future and supporting local communities to become energy self-sufficient, cutting fuel poverty and stimulating the local economy.

CoRE is being funded with £17 million from UK Government and £7.5 million from East Ayrshire Council as part of the £251.5 million Ayrshire Growth Deal, a 10-year investment programme jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments and local authorities.

The project is being led by East Ayrshire Council in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde. As part of the project a Centre for Excellence in renewable technologies will be constructed in Cumnock. Building on Architype’s track record in energy building performance and zero carbon design, the high-quality spaces are being developed to root in the local community and vernacular, and stimulate ideas, innovation and connections among the academic, entrepreneurial and local communities.

The new building will house laboratories and workshop spaces for PHD students and researchers to facilitate cutting edge research into zero carbon and renewable technology. A large demonstrator and exhibition space will showcase energy technologies and inform and engage visitors in new technologies. A welcoming café on the ground floor provides another space for happenchance meetings and community connections that enhance people’s quality of life.

The design references the factory – a space for productive and innovative working and research – borrowing elevational styles from local mills and tanneries

Innovation support spaces including offices and meeting rooms will be available to hire for start-up companies, with zoning creating a strong sense of identity. Encouraging connections and ideas exchanges among building users, the facilities will provide an income stream, as well as being available for the local community. A natural material palette will create a sense of calm, with acoustics, connections and views into the building and to the outside, creating inspiring places to work and study. Locally quarried stone, local timber, bricks and rocks in gabion walls are all being explored for potential features in the building, drawing on the area’s rich heritage and surrounding beautiful natural landscape.

Within the site of the Centre, two demonstrator houses will be constructed, one will allow communities to see how low carbon technologies can be applied in a home, with the second house used for research purposes. High quality landscaped public realm will offer amenity spaces and connections to nature, providing strong links to the adjacent Barony Campus and knitting into the neighbourhood. The design seeks to maximise and enhance the natural features of the site, with existing shrubs, grasses and hedgerows retained. Additional areas of open green space, planting, green roofs, an attenuation pond and bird and bat boxes will be installed to provide amenity space for visitors and improve biodiversity.

The community café for all users - the layout design provides generous circulation and turning space

The BREEAM Outstanding and Passivhaus building – which cuts energy use on conventional buildings by up to 80% - will create a healthy environment and will use natural daylight and local materials to create a sense of place. Additional renewable technologies will achieve a net zero carbon in use building, with lifecycle carbon impact minimised.

Beautifully but simply built, the two-storey construction will use robust materials that are easy and cost-effective to maintain. The project will be delivered through BIM Level 2 to reduce lifecycle cost and waste, with built-in flexibility allowing the building to be easily adapted for differing event requirements or future use as needs change.

The centre of excellence aims to transform energy production, distribution and connections and support the UK’s transition to a low carbon society, establishing Cumnock as an exemplar low carbon town. As part of the project, a range of initiatives will be explored including using local former mining sites to extract heat from rocks underground or from minewaters, using surplus wind energy to reduce residents’ bills, expanding the electric vehicle infrastructure, grid systems and energy community schemes, as well as retrofitting existing council houses. STEM education programmes will link to local schools and Dumfries House, which offers a range of building, arts and crafts skills training.

Planning permission was granted in June 2022. The building is estimated to be open for use in 2024.

The reception area connects the factory building and the demonstrator space. This view shows the entrance into the community hub, part of the public use space planned for CoRE*

*Images shown are representative of design aspirations and are CGI renders – final designs may change

Project Partners

Structural & Civil Engineer
Harley Haddow
M&E Consultant
Harley Haddow
BREEAM Energy & Sustainability Consultant
Harley Haddow

Project Partners

Landscape Consultant
Wardell Armstrong
Acoustic Engineer
Fire Engineer
Atelier 10

Project Partners

Transport Consultant
Principal Designer and Cost Consultant
Faithful & Gould
Project Manager
East Ayrshire Council
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