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The Solaris Centre, Blackpool

Built in 1938 as a Winter Garden, the original building had fallen into a state of disrepair and threatened to become a decaying eyesore.

Happily, rather than choosing demolition, Blackpool City Council decided to renovate the building and commissioned Mellor Architects to give it a new lease of life.

The plan was for Solaris to become a regional centre for environmental action, tasked to deliver the national agenda on environmental sustainability and to act as an exemplar to organisations in the local and regional community.

The original west façade has been restored and new accommodation has been added on the east to provide a lively café and new glazed circulation routes with open views to the garden areas give light and airy access to the restored accommodation.

Located in a prominent location on Blackpool’s south promenade, the project sits in a four-acre garden which has been sub-divided into ten diverse wildlife areas as a teaching and study resource for local schools and the community.

The project incorporates two wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, a combined heat and power unit, solar water heating and the latest insulation and energy conservation technologies as a result of which the building generates all the energy needed for its own use.