The Kent Police Station was designed by McBains Cooper is located in Kent, United Kingdom. This highly successful building is the unique product of excellent co-operation between all of the organisations involved in its procurement, in both the public and private sectors. The North Kent Police Station meets fully the brief from Kent Police and the Home Office and creates a landmark building that sets a new standard in public buildings and in particular for the operation of modern police facilities. It minimises its impact on the environment through architecture, engineering and construction of a high quality, achieving excellent levels of carbon reduction and sustainability. It overcomes the challenges of a landfill site and makes a positive contribution to the regeneration of the Northfleet / Ebbsfleet area.
The design approached the operational needs from first principles and produced a solution that is original and that is fit for its purpose. The flexible open-plan office floors enable closer, more efficient liaison between working groups and permit the adaption of space to suit the constantly changing sizes and purposes of the specialist police teams. The building includes a central atrium or ‘street’ which provides an essential communal area where the officers meet and interact; a significant improvement over the old Gravesend Police station with its cellular rooms and narrow corridors. The central atrium is a multi-purpose space, with the staff restaurant and break-out areas for relaxation, it is also used to augment the heavily used conference and formal meeting rooms and as a function and exhibition area. The efficiency of the design of the new custody suite reduces the time taken in the reception and processing of detainees and consequently police officers spend less administrative time at the police station and more time out on patrol.
Sustainability was at the core of the design and includes such elements as the brise soleil which extends the full length of the building, the solar control tinted glazing to every window, the collection of rainwater from the roofs and its treatment and reuse, and the computerised systems to monitor performance and gain feedback on energy usage and the engineering efficiency. The most significant environmental benefit comes from the geothermal heating and cooling system. The system will achieve a 30% reduction in anticipated energy costs by using the ground’s constant temperature to heat or cool the liquid in the field of geothermal pipes, some of which are cast into the building’s foundation piles. The heat of the ground is transferred in winter to the building’s heating system and in summer the principle works in reverse by absorbing the heat of the building and providing energy-free cooling. At Northfleet, around 16% of the client’s total fuel requirement is being met by this renewable energy source and the building’s carbon footprint will be reduced by 32t every year. The building attained a BREEAM excellent rating.