Norgas Computer Building

Killingworth, Ryder and Yates 1974

The discovery of North Sea gas and the subsequent massive conversion programme necessitated a separate computer centre, which was built alongside Norgas House and completed in 1974. Designed with a link to Norgas House containing storage bays, it was a single-storey structure 47 m square on plan, but designed for extension by up to three storeys.

A completely glazed structure provided internal flexibility by allowing partitions to be placed almost anywhere. There was an outer skin of reflective glass, a cavity, and then an inner skin of insulating and heat-absorbing material that formed the modular frame for the windows. The glazed outer skin and partially glazed inner skin, together with the necessary cavity, acted as a thermal wall to reduce energy requirements in a heavily serviced building. Moreover, its light and heat reflecting properties provided an effective contrast to Norgas House, in the way that other ‘mirror glass’ buildings across the country responded to their neighbours.

The building was demolished in 2013.

All images courtesy of Henk Snoek / RIBA Library Photographs Collection