When the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading was built in the late '90s, an extensive mechanical ventilation system was installed in deep bulkheads above the retail units. This limited the shopfront heights and screened the view of mezzanine trading levels that most of the tenants have subsequently installed.

Recent studies have shown that with only minor modifications, the centre can be naturally ventilated whilst maintaining comfortable conditions for shoppers in the Malls. The bulky plant on the roof and the associated ductwork can therefore be removed, allowing the shopfronts to be raised to 6.5m on the double height Mall and 4.5m along the single height Mall.

Our new design aesthetic for the Malls is aimed at giving more prominence to the brands and how these are expressed by each tenant via their shopfront design, with a more uniform and softer looking bulkhead above concealing the two levels of parking over the shops.

This work is being carried out progressively through the centre as units are refitted or tenancies changed.

A separate project will install revolving doors and banks of automatic louvres at high level and at the entrances in order to give better control of the internal environment throughout the year.

Raised bulkheads at The Oracle, Reading