Completion of Needham Lake Café Tuesday, 19 July, 2022

Hamson Barron Smith’s multi-disciplinary team are pleased to announce the completion of Needham Lake Café for Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils.

The site is located within Needham Lake, a Local Nature Reserve country park in Needham Market.

The building benefits from the multi-use flexible café space, kitchen and servery as well as toilets and a registered Changing Places facility that can be used outside the café’s operating hours.

Our key driver was to deliver a building which is cost efficient to manage for the future occupiers.  The café building follows sustainable design principles and achieves an ‘A’ EPC rating through use of high levels of insulation, triple glazing and airtightness performance which far exceed minimum Building Regulations requirements.  Thus, the building is future-proofed to deal with the effects of climate change.

A simple geometry and very efficient building envelope were designed to reduce space heating energy and associated cost. This also provides comfort and controllability for the operator and the public. The building form and orientation were optimised at the design stage to make the best use of solar gain and minimise heat loss. A solar shading canopy was introduced to provide an outdoor covered seating and to control overheating passively.

The building was built using natural, low carbon materials, utilising timber where possible to help the building sit comfortably in its local context.

Services have been carefully designed, with heating provided by an air source heat pump, for optimum efficiency, low carbon footprint and neglecting the need to bring in fossil fuels via mains or storage.

The landscape proposal aims to integrate the building into the landscape by the use of subtle topography and natural planting. The palette of materials is therefore purposely very limited. With regards to the topography, the building is approached via sloped grass to negotiate the height difference between the external surrounds and building finished floor level. This provides a gradual wheelchair -accessible approach and reduces the impact of the build form in the rural environment. The planting comprises of successional bulb planting in meadow grass together with clear stemmed, light foliage trees such as  birch, a native species. The planting aims to increase biodiversity as well as the visual amenity of the site.