REFURBISHED / RECYCLED WORKPLACE

 

National Winner / Regional Winner North of England, North Wales and Northern Ireland
Skyways House, Liverpool

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Project client

Littlewoods Property Holdings

Project manager

High-Point Rendel

Quantity surveyor

Christopher Smith Associates

Architect

CDA

M&E engineer

Cudd Bentley Consulting

Structural engineer

Curtins Consulting

Contractor

Shepherd Construction

Developer

SJS Property Management

Landscape architect

Barry Chinn Associates


What can you do with a vast, Grade II Listed historic hanger isolated on a provincial airfield where the need to service swarms of wartime bombers has long past? Most have fallen victim to the bulldozer or moulder in long, sad decline, housing a ragbag of metal-bashers or storing endless rows of containers. But an inspirational conversion on Liverpool's former airport at Speke could point the way to a new life for these graceful giants.

Littlewoods needed a special building which would shout about the centralisation of 1500 workers into a newly-unified Shop Direct division. It also had to be capable of handling a new working culture of communication and openness. Few boast that kind of scale or flexibility in the heady South-east, let alone on Merseyside.

It took courage and clever and innovative welding of old and new to produce everything the firm desired; could this be the inspiration for the re-use of other similar buildings?

Close collaboration between architects and engineers has created a building within a building. Light floods through the huge space across three floors, a daunting challenge in itself when the roof - reputedly designed by 'bouncing bomb' pioneer Barnes Wallace - was sacrosanct. This was achieved by glazing both ends of the building, while the original roof lights and windows have been upgraded for solar control. Cleverness abounds, with the design of the mechanical and electrical installation, the structure and the architecture.

The judges particularly like the way a 'controlled palate' of steel, glass and timber has been used to bind unpretentious industrial utility to modern new office floors, creating a 21st century working environment. No apology is made for the building's origins. In fact, the exposed roof structure, ties and beams celebrate that history.

Construction was successfully completed to a tight timescale and budget, with the building team happy to publish costings of £470/sq metre for construction, £100/sq metre for partial demolition and £780/sq metre fitting out.

The result is a remarkably distinctive building that is also highly efficient, boasting a high net:gross ratio and 2.85m ceiling heights. Littlewoods is certainly satisfied, saying the new HQ has 'radically improved' its business.


Regional Winner Scotland
City Park, Glasgow

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Project client

Elphinstone Group

Project manager

GTMS

Quantity surveyor

Turner & Townsend

Architect/interior designer

Cooper Cromar

M&E engineer

WSP

Structural engineer

URS

Contractor

Capital Construction

Investment/property company

Irish Nationwide Building Society

Developer

Elphinstone & Earthquake


Bravery can be an overused term when redevelopment is often cushioned by booming tenant demand and generous grants. But nothing else could describe the decision to spend £25m transforming a gigantic, decaying industrial landmark in a depressed area of Glasgow into one of the largest office developments outside London.

Yet that courage has paid off for developer Elphinstone. Back in its heyday, the Art Deco former Wills cigarette factory employed 3000 people and underpinned the whole economy of this part of the city. As it died, so did the surrounding area. By the end of this year, the workforce should be back to this peak.

The largest floor plates in Scotland were built behind retained listed façades, but the key to success was ensuring they could be easily broken down into a range of sizes through flexible servicing. A variety of fit-out standards and range of rents are also available to match the needs of different tenants.

This is a true business park enclosed in a 27000 sq. metre shell, with all the facilities and qualities expected of a comprehensive development, such as a gym, restaurants, architectural excellence and some inspiring art. There are two phone exchanges, four fibre providers and up to 6MVA power supplies. The judges would like to have seen the project being analysed through a BREEAM assessment.

Payback has extended outwards, as the whole area has been regenerated with new housing and shops on the back of this revived giant.


Regional Winner London
10 Queen Street Place, London

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Project client

The Blackstone Group International

Quantity surveyor

Gardiner & Theobald

Architect

John Robertson Architects

Interior designer

HOK International

M&E engineer

MTT/Consulting

Structural engineer

Waterman Structures

Contractor

ISG InteriorExterior

Developer

The Blackstone Group International

Entrance and roof garden concept designer

HOK International with Seth Stein


In the sizzling heat of summer, office workers swarmed outside to meet clients or tap at computers in parks and gardens. Lawyers at SJ Berwin merely jump in a lift.

Relocation of service equipment at their new HQ left room for a fabulous roof garden overlooking the Thames and 2000sq.m. of new office space.

Being separated from a desk would have seemed outrageous when the building was created following a financial revolution called the 'big ban' hit the City. Yet working practices have moved on so far and fast that in little more than a decade it had become obsolete. Now Blackstone has brought the monolith back up to date.

Old atriums were filled to create calm meeting spaces. New ones were cut to break massive floors into more manageable spaces of 16 to 20 metres, blessed with cutting edge high quality fit-out. Linked by glazed bridges, they draw light deep into the building during the day and generate splashes of colour at night. Helical stairs runs up two of the three atria, bringing drama to the show, as does a double-height new entrance. New cladding helps accentuate the enduring external character

The judges were impressed by the way the development team brought this important building back from near-death to provide the kind of workspace required in today's world. It clearly reflects Berwin's vibrant business culture. While gardens may not bloom on every future renovation, it shows the way for a generation of big bang buildings facing an uncertain future.