Research: Post-Occupancy Evaluation - Liverpool Everyman Theatre
Research: Post-Occupancy Evaluation - Liverpool Everyman Theatre 

As co-founders of the Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency movement (AD) Haworth Tompkins have acknowledged the significant impact buildings have on climate and on global ecosystems. By signing up to the AD declaration points HT have committed to assess and re-think our approach to design.

One important aspect of this is the decision to carry out in-house light-touch Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) studies aiming to identify strengths of completed projects, possible areas for improvement, and further learning for the design team, alongside our clients and consultants.

The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool was used as a test case to see how the Practice could embed light-touch Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE)/Building Performance In-Use reporting across our office portfolio. The Everyman was chosen because it uses an innovative assisted natural ventilation system and the design team were keen to understand how well it was working, to inform the design of similar performing spaces.

The project team had access to the building’s energy performance data and had maintained a good relationship with the theatre’s facilities management team, who had been involved in the design process from the beginning and were keen to help and support the POE process.

Disseminating the knowledge gathered by the POE and acting on the lessons learned is the most important goal of the entire process, and the technical, theatre related, discoveries are already being discussed and fed back into the design process of other current projects. The final Everyman report was shared throughout the office and was also presented externally at the AJ Summit and shared here on our website.

The reporting process itself is also being discussed internally and will form the basis of a reporting template for other projects across the sectors HT work in, such as residential and higher education.

(download report)

Our aim is to be agents of positive change, helping to realise the safe and just space in which the living world can flourish without breaching planetary boundaries

Advocacy: Regenerative Design Primer 

The Architects Declare Regenerative Design Primer has launched as a guide to help architects and other designers lead the transition away from degenerative, destructive built environment practices that perpetuate the planetary emergency, towards regenerative design that creates positive outcomes for people and the natural systems we are part of. It supports the new Regenerative Architecture Index, adopting the same core principles of Being a Good Ancestor, Co-evolving with Nature, and Creating a Just Space for People.

The Primer complements the AD Practice Guide (2021) and aims to speak to all who really care about the future and meeting their full commercial, social and environmental aspirations.

Studio: Regenerative Design 

As an Employee Ownership Trust, a certified B Corporation and early adopters of the RIBA 2030 Challenge, we are transforming our design methods, our business model and our measures of success.

In 2019 we co-founded the Architects Declare movement to address the twin planetary emergencies of climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse, calling for a paradigm shift in built environment design. As part of that shift, we are seeking to adopt the principles of regenerative practice, a whole systems approach that goes well beyond the conventions of sustainable architecture.

Instead of designing merely to reduce negative impacts, we are learning to conceptualise our projects as beneficial parts of the wider climatic, ecological and social web of relationships in any given location. This requires a more profound understanding of place, community and ecology, and the development of deeper relationships with clients and colleagues that can help support organisational change alongside architectural interventions.

We know that we are still a long way from fully achieving our aims, but we are committed to embedding regenerative design at the heart of our work.

Studio: Our Carbon Footprint Report 2022/2023 

Haworth Tompkins has signed up to the Race to Zero challenge via the SME Climate Hub (, aiming to halve their GHG emissions by 2030 compared to the 2019 baseline, offset the remaining emissions annually through efficient measures, and achieve net zero emissions before 2050.

The office carbon footprint during April 2022 - April 2023 is estimated at 79 tonnes CO2e, or approx.0.83 tonnes CO2e/person – this reflects the increased accuracy of measurement and added detail since 2019 (especially scope 3 emissions, e.g. emissions linked to working from home, utilities distribution losses, and project-related transport).

Studio: HT Toolkit 

We recently re-launched our inhouse sustainable and regenerative design Toolkit. Devised as a series of survey questionnaires for each RIBA stage, the aim of the START Toolkit is to be a project performance check at each design milestone, and a progress reporting tool at practice level.

Advocacy: Architects Declare Practice Guide 

The Architects Declare Practice Guide has launched as an open source document to help signatories convert their declaration into meaningful action. Divided into two parts, the first addressing a Practice Roadmap, and the second on different aspects of Project Design, the live guide will evolve over time as the industry innovates, finding new solutions to climate and biodiversity challenges.

Studio: Our Carbon Footprint Report 2021/22 

We started monitoring our office carbon footprint in 2019 as part of our commitment to reducing our environmental impact. From April 2021 - April 2022 we estimate usage of 74 tonnes CO2e, or approximately 0.66 tonnes CO2e/person. This compares with 67 tonnes CO2e (0.65 tonnes per person) in the previous year, and 73 tonnes CO2e (0.9 tonnes per person) in 2019. The overall increase is due to a rise in staff numbers and more project related travel, while the carbon footprint per person is comparable to last year.

Project: SKA Gold Rating awarded to Kingston University's Agile Workspace 

Our project for Kingston University included the fitout of new agile workspace for 120 staff within a former library on the main Penrhyn Road Campus. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ SKA rating is tailored to assess fit-out projects against a set of sustainability good practice criteria concerning energy and CO2 emissions, waste, water, materials, pollution, wellbeing and transport. The project achieved Gold, the highest rating, through specification of low-VOC finishes and carefully selected materials, fixtures and fittings, while a pre-demolition audit identified opportunities for the re-use of stripped-out materials on and off site.

Event: Airtightness workshop 

Achieving a good level of airtightness is a cornerstone of the Passive House standard requirements, and as we’re undertaking an increasing number of these projects, we’re increasing our knowledge and skills by having regular training and CPDs.

Advocacy: End Gas Now 

It has become even more apparent in the last few months that our reliance on gas, and fossil fuels in general, has a deep, damaging impact on our society as well as the planetary ecosystems. We acknowledge that as architects we have the duty to adjust the way we design and make a clear statement to stop the use of fossil fuels in our projects.

Project: Passivhaus principles 

Haworth Tompkins are working with Newham Council to redevelop the Greenhill Centre Site in Manor Park, north London. The development provides 81 new affordable homes for local residents as well as an updated gym.

In response to Newham Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, the new homes will be Passivhaus certified. Aside from the benefits that this will bring to the client, such as reducing the risk of fuel poverty, and a building compatible with net zero carbon, there are also a number of key benefits for future residents which include improved thermal comfort, good indoor air quality, low heating requirements and low energy bills. We also maximised the number of dual aspect homes resulting in over 90% benefitting from cross or adjacent wall ventilation to help mitigate overheating.

Passivhaus principles have been embedded in this project right from the start. The residential and gym blocks were made as compact as possible to achieve a low form factor. Simplifying the building envelope through avoiding inset balconies and instead providing projecting balconies, and avoiding unnecessary steps in the façade, increases the efficiency of the insulation and reduces heat loss from the building. Designing projecting balconies reduced the perimeter of the external envelope by around 20%.

Advocacy: Race to Zero 

Haworth Tompkins has signed up to Race to Zero, a United Nations initiative aiming to rally leadership and support for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. This global campaign joins together governments, businesses, cities, regions and universities around the world that share the same mission. Recognising that climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society-at-large, our commitment is to take action immediately in order to halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and achieve net zero emissions before 2050.

Research: Sustainable materials resource 

Architect Nick Royce, and Head of Sustainability and Regenerative Design, Diana Dina, have been working alongside members of several Architects Declare signatory practices from the UK and across Europe to compile the resource.

While researching sustainable materials for the American Repertory Theater, Nick started to collate these with a view to promoting healthier and more sustainable alternatives to common construction materials. Some of the criteria for inclusion are having lower embodied carbon, being easier to recycle, being made of recycled material, and with Environmental product declarations. The list included readily available materials, such as alternatives to gypsum-based boards, as well as materials still in development, e.g. waste bricks.

Studio: Our Carbon Footprint Report 2020 

As part of our commitment to the reduction of our environmental impact, both as a business, and through our design work, we have been monitoring and recording our office carbon footprint since 2019. Between April 2020 and April 2021 this is estimated at 67 tonnes CO2e, or approximately 0.66 tonnes CO2e/person. This compares with 73 tonnes CO2e (0.9t per person) in the previous year. Many of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions were lower as would be expected during the pandemic, for instance reduced project related travel. Other reduced emissions linked to staff commuting were counterbalanced by a rise in GHG emissions due to working from home.

Research: Building with Natural Materials 

HT studio members Alex Johnstone, Aneesha Irika and Diana Al-laham spent the day volunteering with Citizens Design Bureau on the construction of their Studio 3 Arts project in Barking. Haworth Tompkins support the volunteering process by offering an annual day of leave to everyone undertaking similar schemes, either inside or outside of the architectural sphere. Members of the public are involved in this particular community project to help build an extension to the centre, by laying the straw bales that form the walls. With instruction from the School of Natural Building, this was an excellent way to learn about alternative methods of construction, and building with natural materials.

Project: Kingsbridge Estate Options Appraisal 

At the start of any new project we are dedicated to exploring the possibility of retaining and reusing any existing buildings or structures, through both technical analysis and consultation with the people who use them.

We are currently working with the residents of Kingsbridge Estate and One Housing on an Options Appraisal to help shape the future of the estate. Options range from leaving the estate as it is, to deep retrofit of existing buildings, to full redevelopment.

Research: Could professionals within the Built ​Environment be held to account in the future? 

Associate Hannah Constantine completed her MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution at Kings College London at the end of 2020.

Her final year dissertation aimed to proposition whether a new class of negligence is emerging within the Law of Tort, in response to the growing urgency surrounding climate change, and whether professionals within the Built Environment could be held to account in the future for their contribution, both passively and proactively, asking the question of whether we are doing enough.

Project: Refurbishment vs Demolition 

We are committed to retaining and refurbishing existing buildings wherever this is a feasible and suitable solution, as part of our AD declaration.

Recently we worked with our structural engineers, Heyne Tillett Steel, to assess and compare the carbon emissions between two options: retain, refurbish and extend vs demolish and rebuild in one of our projects for a London local authority.

Studio: HT Architect Simon Ricketts on WUFI 

WUFI is an acronym that stands for Wärme-und Feuchtetransport instationär, which translates in English to 'Transient Heat and Moisture Transport'. It’s an advanced moisture modelling programme designed by the Fraunhoefer Institute in Germany, enabling highly accurate building physics decision-making. Haworth Tompkins are keen to preserve existing buildings and upgrade them as much as possible, not only to keep our important historic heritage, but also to reduce the environmental impact of projects.

Studio: Diana Dina on AJ Climate Champions podcast 

Diana Dina, our head of sustainability and regenerative design is interviewed by Hattie Harman in the fourth episode of the AJ’s Climate Champions podcast series. She shares her insights on how to be a changemaker in a large architecture practice, and how Haworth Tompkins is looking to collaborate with other practices on the climate emergency. To listen, click here.

Project: BREEAM Outstanding for Kingston School of Art 

Haworth Tompkins’ major refurbishment of Kingston University’s Mill Street Building for Kingston School of Art has been awarded BREEAM Outstanding, with a score of 86.2%.

BREEAM provided a structure for benchmarking and assessing the sustainability aims with the team paying attention to measures reducing energy use and CO2. BREEAM was supplemented by Haworth Tompkins’ own sustainability toolkit, with further priorities incorporated relating to wellbeing, adaptability and resilience.

Studio: Our Carbon Footprint Report 2019 

The current climate and biodiversity emergency highlighted by the Architects Declare movement – now celebrating its 1 year anniversary - has prompted individuals and organisations to become aware and take responsibility for their impact on the environment.

As founding signatories of the AD declaration, HT have started to calculate their office carbon foot­print with the aim to find ways to reduce it, and then to offset the remaining carbon emissions in a way that is meaningful for the environment.

Research: Sustainable and regenerative design: reading list, research and design tools 

Here are our suggestions for a broad reading and research list - including articles, books, databases, tools and guides to help understand the problems and the solutions. Please click for link:

Regenerative Design

Flourish: Design Paradigms for our Planetary Emergency - Sarah Ichioka and Michael Pawlyn

We fooled ourselves that sustainability was getting us where we need to go - Michael Pawlyn, Dezeen

Doughnut Economics - book by Kate Raworth

Circular Economy

Design for a Circular Economy - Mayor of London/Good Growth Primer

UKGBC Guidance on Circular Economy

Studio: Haworth Tompkins - Climate Emergency Response 

We are co-founders of the Architects Declare movement launched in May 2019.

Click here for a summary of our actions, events and activities organised as a response to the climate emergency

Studio: Passive House Training 

In a bid to adopt more regenerative design principles, and to design architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use, a third of our architects are receiving specialist training this week, focusing on Passive House.

Advocacy: Future Homes Part L consultation 

Haworth Tompkins are supporting LETI’s response to the Part L consultation, focusing on the need for:

- improved fabric performance requirements
- use of metered energy (kWh/m2yr) as principal metric for performance evaluation
- retaining the power of Local Authorities to set carbon reduction targets beyond Building Regulations

Advocacy: The London Energy Transformation Initiative 

Haworth Tompkins are an organisational supporter of the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI), a network of over 250 built environment professionals who are working together to put London on the path to a Zero Carbon future. LETI have lobbied for policy change and their recommendations have been included in emerging London Policy. These recommendations include energy use disclosure, use of updated carbon factors and whole life carbon assessments for referable schemes.

Event: Rethinking the way we design and work 

‘Rethinking the way we design and work’ was the theme of a day held by Haworth Tompkins focusing on the Architects Declare emergency goals and commitments. We acknowledge that addressing the AD goals will require an important change in our design process, and in our studio, and this was an excellent opportunity to get everyone in the office involved in the discussion.

Project: The Den - a low-carbon portable, community theatre 

Minimum environmental impact and social equity are at the heart of the design that composes this super-lightweight theatre.

Advocacy: Architects Declare 

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

Event: Exploring Doughnut Economics 

Steve Tompkins and Beatie Blakemore recently attended a workshop at Hawkwood College led by Kate Raworth and Juliet Davenport, looking at how businesses can meet the needs of people within the means of the planet. The workshop explored the principles of ‘Doughnut Economics’ – a concept developed by Kate Raworth that has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists. Juliet Davenport is founder and CEO of renewable energy supplier Good Energy.

Project: Offsite construction for Osco Homes 

Transportation associated with construction site activities, material delivery and waste removal account to just under 40% of total energy use within the construction industry. At Baycliff Road our houses are constructed off site as separate wall, floor and roof cassettes and then assembled on site in typically around 12 hours per house. The construction period on site is much shorter than a traditionally built project and relies on considerably fewer deliveries to site and vehicle movements.