COMMERCIAL WORKPLACE

 

Joint National Winner/ Regional Winner Midlands and East Anglia
Eliot Park Innovation Centre (EPIC), Nuneaton

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Project client

Warwickshire County Council (WCC)

Project manager

Property Services, WCC

Quantity surveyor

Turner & Townsend

Architect

SMC Corstorphine & Wright

Interior designer

Monteith Scott

M&E engineer

Couch Perry Wilkes

Structural engineer

BJB Consultancy

Contractor

Bluestone

Developer

Sustainability Unit, WCC


The best judges of buildings are always their tenants, so it is heartening that small firms swarming into Eliot Park Innovation Centre [EPIC] near Nuneaton seem to heartily agree with the idea that this building makes for such a fine offer.

Credit must go to a local authority like Warwickshire County Council for the bravery to invest such imagination in the development, which is as epic as the acronym it boasts as a name

Created to nourish small and growing businesses, the centre offers the kind of high-quality, flexible space and environmental systems normally found only in top HQ buildings. Yet the scheme was surprisingly economical to build.

Designer SMC Corstorphine & Wright set out to provide a creative and vibrant image matching the ethos of the firms it aimed to attract. Offices needed to be forward-thinking, modern and exciting. The fact that tenants boast they have attracted staff and won new contracts since moving in shows how well this has worked.

Offices laid along a central spine provide 7m floor depths and 3.3m ceiling heights which, combined with flexible leasing terms, enable dynamic young firms to expand and move around. Modular engineering systems emphasise this fluidity, allowing partitions to be shifted.

Green issues were paramount, again reflecting the demands tenants are under from their own clients. They demand space which reflects their own beliefs and illustrate to clients their concern for the environment.

An excellent BREEAM rating has been won from innovations such as photovoltaic cells, which have cut power demand by half. Structural floor slabs provide low maintenance, fan-assisted, radiant heating and passive cooling under a system called TermoDeck.

Coventry University Enterprises, which runs the centre, is reporting that the tenants all share an enthusiasm for the building which supports new working practices, flexibility and green issues.

The judges appreciated the roundness of this achievement; WCC set out to create economic regeneration rather than straightforward commercial gain, yet they achieved both. WCC showed imagination and political adeptness in the way in which the building was funded and in their choice of venture partners. The designers brief was to create a building which was innovative in concept, engineering systems and construction; they achieved all three. A joint National Winner and rightly so.


Joint National Winner / Regional Winner London
One Hanover Street, London

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Project client

The Crown Estate

Project manager/interior designer

Gensler

Quantity surveyor

Davis Langdon

Architect

Sheppard Robson

M&E engineer

Faber Maunsell

Structural engineer

Waterman Partnership

Contractor

Bovis Lend Lease

Developer

Stanhope


Two icons from opposite ends of history came together at One Hanover Street in London's West End. The Crown Estate holds a tight rein on changes to its buildings, but is desperate to find modern uses. This can be hard to achieve given Westminster's planners dedication to preservation.

Stanhope's patient persistence and clever plans, involving demolition behind listed Edwardian facades with new elevations skilfully stitched into period architecture, was successful enough to win over the local authority and sophisticated enough to attract Apple, which is just as dedicated to quality design but requires the most sophisticated workspace.

Sheppard Robson's plans and Gensler's interiors conjure a perfect balance between old and new, which was made all the more complicated by having to include a mix of residential, offices and retail without disturbing the exterior elegance.

Apple saw a quality and panache matching its own ethos and ideally suited for its European office and retail headquarters. The scheme created huge 2,400 sq. metre, column-free floors, offering the flexibility for a mix of new working techniques, client demonstration areas and brainstorming spaces beloved of computer people.

The Edwardian well has been re-invented as atriums drawing light into these depths, while glass walls enable the traditional layout to be flipped, with cellular space moved to interior cores. All that light bathes a riot of colour from art which begins with a dramatic Bruce McLean sculpture powerfully flagging the entrance and flows throughout the building.

One more clue that this is a Stanhope development comes from a very good BREEAM rating, achieved despite the constraints of the site, and use of advanced construction techniques including off-site fabrication although this year's entries show others are also moving in this direction.

Apple is not the only satisfied tenant. Kaupthing Bank took three floors as an international HQ and names like Lacoste and Ted Baker have retail shops. The Crown Estate wanted this to be a hallmark for 21st century developments on the rest of its Regent Street estate and has certainly achieved that aim. Sharing the joint national prize for Commercial Workplace, this complex project richly deserves its high BCO accolade.


Regional Winner Scotland
Sentinel, Glasgow

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Project client

Kenmore

Project manager

CBA

Quantity surveyor

Thomas and Adamson

Architect

GMAD

M&E engineer

KJ Tait

Structural engineer

Halcrow

Contractor

Miller Construction UK

Investor/property company/developer

Kenmore


This is not just a modern office building: it is a piece of public art. Changing colours wash over the facades. Clever use of structural glass and optical illusion gives the appearance of a transparent box floating effortlessly over the ground. In a strong list of regional entries, Sentinel edged to victory for the sheer enterprise in replacing an obsolete building in an ignored location with such pizzazz in a speculative development.

The gamble paid off with swift lettings. International insurance giant AON says that despite fitting more staff in less space, it feels roomier. High levels of natural light have had a positive effect on staff while column-free, flexible space enables new working methods such as hot-desking and break-out areas. Judges and tenant also praise the thought and subtlety behind apparently simple design, including the slightly humorous glowing glass sinks.

Some doubts hovered over use of VRV cooling but the judges acknowledged this gave flexibility for multi-letting and has not prevented the achievement of a very good BREEAM score. The developer said it wanted a building with both wow factor and the green credentials which would make occupiers proud. It has certainly succeeded and at the kind of reasonable price that could be a pointer for other cities looking to banish their own shadows.


Regional Winner North of England, North Wales and Northern Ireland
Waterfront 3, Newcastle Upon Tyne

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Project client

UK Land Estates

Quantity surveyor

Gleeds

Architect/interior designer

FaulknerBrowns

M&E engineer /structural engineer

Arup

Contractor

Tolent Construction

Developer

UK Land Estates

Landscape

Anthony Walker & Partners


Energy-efficient design is often rejected because of the initial cost of helping future generations. Yet this is hard evidence of how a top BREEAM rating can be achieved on an efficient, simple building at a modest cost.

Waterfront 3 is part of a 220-acre regeneration aimed at producing one of the highest quality business parks in the UK. The building set out from the start to boast green credentials demanded by government bodies, and proved its point by netting the Ambulance Service.

Existing buildings had already received awards and the brief was to match this quality with high technology, green designs using flexible open-plan floors linked to an efficient core which would be attractive to tenants and capable of subdivision. The block completes a set around a series of courtyards, which leave a high proportion of the site for landscaping

Clean floorplates have been created on a grid suitable for a mix of meeting rooms and open plan. They are easy to divide and benchmarked against many BCO recommendations. Flexibility is underpinned by good value stemming from two key factors. All three buildings have been carried out with the same contractor, embodying partnership principles in the Latham and Egan reports. Procurement benefited from the contractor's experience.

Feedback from occupiers in the first two also helped tune designs, so construction costs were reduced to £890/sq metre compared with £1050/sq metre on the first building.


Regional Winner South of England and South Wales
Oxfam Global Hub, Oxford

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Project client

Arlington Securities

Owner/investment/ property company

Arlington Business Parks Partnership

Quantity surveyor

WT Partnership

Project manager

Arlington Development Management

Architect

Frank Shaw Associates

Interior designer

Bennett Interior Design

M&E engineer

IEI

Structural engineer

Jacobs

Contractor

Kier Regional

Developer

Arlington Development Services


Oxfam faced a huge dilemma when its HQ began to age. Supporters and staff want every available penny going directly to humanitarian relief, yet the only way to reduce overheads was spending some of that money on more efficient accommodation to allow total integration into a world of global communication and the best new ways of working. So the choice of a profit-driven development partner and the value of the new building were under intense scrutiny from the outset.

Yet the remarkable partnership has produced everything Oxfam desired. Arlington came up with innovative finance using the charity's tax status. The two sides also worked closely at every stage to squeeze out extra value. The result is a building which exudes Oxfam's ethos yet has already raised productivity by allowing benefits of IT and integration of departments across flexible, open space. What could have been a standard business park building has become a showpiece.

Art, colour and maps illustrating Oxfam's worldwide activities give an identity and character. Computer-designed roof windows draw light into 18m floors, helped by a generous atrium which also provides for socialising and integration of staff. Active chilled beams and the precision of off-site prefabrication contribute to a very good BREEAM rating, adding to the ethical statement.

Constant dialogue with Arlington at every stage on issues such as principled procurement and cost reduction created an early feeling of ownership, reducing the normal pain of relocation. Oxfam boasts it now has a home which is both ethical and efficient.