The world leader in the offshore wind industry, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, was looking to create a new research and development facility to prototype and test their new wind turbine designs. The Vestas Blade Technology Centre was designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson to provide an environment in which the largest wind turbine blades in the world may be built and tested to destruction. The complex includes three buildings — a prototyping hall, a testing hall and an office block which are all linked via a central glazed atrium that houses the reception facilities and a canteen.
Sir Robert McAlpine commenced construction on the 28,000m2 facility in 2010, the whole project was then completed in June 2011 at a cost of £56 million. The new research and development centre provides facilities for the design, manufacture and testing of prototypes. The prototyping hall and testing hall are each the size of two football fields, measuring 174 metres long and 56 metres wide they provide ample space to develop and test blades up to 100 metres long. The facility is home to 150 engineers and technicians who are accommodated in the three storey office block, all linked by the central atrium. The complex is designed for energy efficiency and has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. Sustainable design features include a rainwater harvesting system, a self-contained sewage plant, ground source heat pumps (providing all the heating and cooling requirements to the office block), natural ventilation chilled beams and night cooling.
The Vestas Blade Technology Centre won the ICE Major Project Award for the South East in 2012. The ICE is the Institution of Civil Engineers and every year they hold Engineering Excellence Awards showcasing the best civil engineering projects in the region in any given year. The winning projects must reflect the ICE’s global vision of delivering sustainable developments.