CHAIRMAN'S OVERVIEW

The 2006 BCO Awards display the strength of British office design and evidence of the BCO's own contribution through benchmarking, the BCO Guides and BCO research.

Elliot Park 2

Work cultures have responded to technological advances, with new requirements which developers and designers must satisfy. Inventive ways of funding buildings can change the agenda, creating new opportunities. Extremely high quality of design and construction are expected. Despite everything, buildings must meet strict timetables and budgets. In a challenging world; how is the U.K. office market responding?

New trends are apparent in entries and winners. The 2006 Awards feature a quality of entries which is outstanding; in each category there are a number of entries of such quality as to deserve a national award. With the greatest of difficulty, the National Panel has identified a single national winner in all of the categories but one. In the Commercial Workplace category, despite prolonged debate, the national award is being shared by two entries: One Hanover Street, London W1 and Eliot Park Innovation Centre, Nuneaton - two quite different projects, but both in the finest tradition of the BCO Awards

Hanover 2

Great inventiveness in design is accommodating new ways of working; technology is a significant source and enabler of these new work patterns, but another driver is staff care. More is expected staff and, to help them, buildings must work harder. The successful office building of 2006 must ensure that staff are all in touch with daylight, have first quality M&E installations, with a BMS that can virtually read the mind, have impeccable acoustics, be completely flexible, provide the ultimate IT capability, be highly efficient, but provide every opportunity for staff to mix, to keep healthy, to keep in touch, to keep interested and, if they so desire, to live virtually their entire lives in the office, with the ability to work, be sociable, eat, keep fit and shop for the essentials.

The modern British office displays appropriate political correctness, with a sensitive use of sustainable materials and cooling solutions. A 'very good' and, in a significant number of cases, 'excellent' BREEAM rating, is noticeable. A number of buildings are now making use of boreholes; building systems must run with efficient economy and low carbon ratings are a valued target, to which the BCO Awards will be paying increasing attention. Sustainability is now acknowledged as a crucial issue; few projects will find favour in the BCO awards if they do not perform well in this area.

GIA 1

Art and colour are everywhere in the exemplar of 2006, from the beautifully subtle, to the gigantic, the wacky and the seriously accomplished. Lighting can now achieve wondrous things; every ounce of drama or mood swing is wrenched out of sometimes the most unprepossessing of structures.

he BCO Awards must ensure that the judging process reflects the fast developing world of design. The highest of standards must be recognised and encouraged. The Awards mechanisms will develop and be flexible to encourage fresh, stylish and innovative thought, and revel in the joy of good design.