Duxford Air Museum Cambridge

Gaia takes off at historic RAF Officers’ Mess

Gaia’s low-temperature, wet underfloor heating has been installed as part of a project to turn a historic building into Cambridge’s newest office space. Commercial property developer and investor, Mantle, has converted the former RAF Duxford Officers’ Mess into modern office accommodation.

The Grade II-listed building, which Mantle has on a 120-year lease, opened last November as a business centre offering serviced office space for small and medium-sized companies. Within the original structure, traditional wall-mounted radiators have been retained, in keeping with the listed status, explains Simon Redman, Partner at Cambridge-based Cowper Griffith Architects.

However, a substantial new-build section has been added to the building, filling in unused space previously occupied by low-status areas and light-wells. Here, a contrasting modern structure has been erected with underfloor heating instead of radiators. The new-build element comprises an enclosed central courtyard with a café and a meeting space.

IT consultant, Chris Dallywater, whose company Cambition was among the first to relocate to the new business centre, said: “The new atrium and café offer the perfect ‘social habitat’ for cordial interaction, where people can absorb the heritage of the building and benefit from its original purpose as a place of strategic discussion and interpersonal communication.”

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