RARE, Microsoft’s gaming division at Twycross in Leicestershire, will be their first new build site in the UK and the first LEED-accredited Microsoft project outside the USA. Our B&K Structures division is on site delivering the full-timber structure, including a glulam frame, cross-laminated timber floor decks and internal wall panels. The project has a zero-carbon target and exceptional sustainable requirements. When completed, the commercial workspace will be one of the country’s most sustainable buildings. Careful consideration has been taken throughout the design stages to reduce the carbon footprint of the project, from the materials used – including the distance travelled transporting them to site – through to the use of entirely renewable energy to power the building.
The decision to use timber coincides with Microsoft’s strategy to be carbon neutral by 2030, and a longer-term goal to remove all the carbon the company has emitted by 2050 either directly or by electrical consumption since 1975. Sustainability targets have informed the design and construction of the RARE project and the new office space seeks to reach platinum certification. It has been designed in accordance with the ‘BREEAM’ sustainability rating of ‘excellent’, therefore minimising the development’s environmental impact. The building is inspired by the cultural heritage of its immediate location and surrounding area. The interior of the development replicates the traditional design of barns, through the use of raw materials, sleek black details, and plenty of greenery which is reinforced through the use of exposed timber wall and floor slabs. The result is an exemplary sustainable building which blends inconspicuously within the surrounding landscape and maintains the landscape’s open appearance, making the most of the aesthetic and sustainable benefits of engineered timber.
RARE is a British video game developer and Xbox studio with a 35-year history. The company was bought by Microsoft Game Studios in 2002 after a hugely successful run of titles such as Golden Eye 007 and Donkey Kong in the 1990s. It supported the Xbx360 rollout with a run of games and continues to be at the forefront of video game development.