CABI moves into stunning new corporate office in Wallingford

CABI Building Wallingford

CABI, the international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organisation that applies scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment, has moved into its new corporate office in Wallingford.

The innovative design builds upon its commitment towards a more sustainable world by leaving less of a carbon footprint amidst a landscape rich in biodiversity.

Representatives from CABI, including its new CEO Dr Daniel Elger and former CEO Dr Trevor Nicholls, joined property developers CALA Homes, architects Scott Brownrigg, project managers Ridge and Partners LLP (Ridge) and builders Barnwood Construction for a group photo to mark the opening of the building.

CABI building Wallingford interior groupThe new corporate office features a photo-voltaic solar array system to harvest the sun’s energy, an extensive lightweight sedum green roof and a curtain wall system to allow for natural ventilation. Rooflights also provide natural top light to help reduce demand for electric lighting and help lower CO2 emissions.

The building sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), so CABI and Cala Homes have planted cypress trees, native hedgerows, low shrubs, ornamental plantings, perennial flowers and even a meadow to attract a broad range of insects, birds and other wildlife.

The move to the new corporate office, which is on the same site as the old office – a former school from the 1960s, was made possible from the sale of land to CALA Homes to allow the 91-home Carmel Meadows development to be built off Nosworthy Way.

The properties include 18 affordable homes and, as part of the development, CALA Homes is also contributing £1 million towards local infrastructure and facilities.

Former CABI CEO Dr Trevor Nicholls, who was instrumental in bringing the new CABI corporate office to fruition before retiring, said: “On behalf of my EMT colleagues and all CABI staff worldwide let me thank all of our professional advisers, partners and suppliers for their work in helping us achieve this exciting milestone in CABI’s history.

CABI building Wallingford exterior“We now have an office that we can truly be proud of which is fitting for an international organisation, visited by guests and staff from around the world. It is truly in keeping with our mission and values to protect the environment and biodiversity whilst also being an impressive local landmark that will put us on the map more visibly in the community.”

Recently appointed CEO at CABI Dr Daniel Elger is among the first members of staff to move into the new headquarters, which also serves as the hub for CABI’s publishing business. He said: “I am delighted to be leading a team of professionals at our corporate office who are working with colleagues in our global network of centres to help millions of smallholder farmers around the world grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases.”

Jolyon Price, Equity Partner at Ridge said: “CABI, together with the Ridge team, have overcome planning hurdles, been responsible for the appointment of the full consultant team and, most recently, we have managed successful completion of the build through the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ridge team, with Scott Brownrigg, have remained completely dedicated to supporting CABI all the way through the life cycle of the project, from concept to completion, and we are all very proud of the end result.”

Scott Brownrigg Director, Ed Hayden, said: “A traffic light system alerts users when the building gets too hot or doesn’t have enough fresh air. Turning from amber to red prompts the occupants to open their windows and increase the levels of fresh air in the building. It is designed to rely on communication and cooperation between the building and its users, rather than being heavily M&E driven.”

Matt Carr, Contracts Manager from Barnwood Construction, said: “The vision and leadership from CABI, supported by the rest of the team, has demonstrated how new buildings can meet the modern demands of work space whilst still supporting a sustainable environment. Despite many challenges, not least the current pandemic, we are very pleased to be part of the team to have delivered such a first class building.”

Stala Thomson, Sales and Marketing Director at CALA Homes Chiltern, said, “This is a significant development for Wallingford and South Oxfordshire, both in terms of the provision of much-needed new homes and the retention of a globally-renowned organisation in the UK.

“We’re delighted that the completion of CABI’s headquarters is allowing for more work to get underway and that the joint vision that both organisations have had for this site is now becoming a reality.”

With the building now complete, CABI will begin moving into their eco-friendly new home whilst following UK Covid-19 guidelines.