Commercial Workplace

 

National/Regional Winner London (Inside M25)
5 Aldermanbury Square

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Project Client:

Scottish Widows

Owner:

Scottish Widows

Project Manager:

Hanover Cube, Development Manager

Quantity Surveyor:

Northcroft

Brief Consultant:

BH2

Architect:

Eric Parry Architects

Interior Designer:

Eric Parry Architects

M&E Engineer:

Hilson Moran Partnership

Structural Engineer:

Ramboll Whitbybird

Contractor:

Bovis

Investment/Property Company:

Scottish Widows

Developer:

Scottish Widows


Developers can throw money at a project and still end up with something average. However, at £73m, 5 Aldermanbury Square was certainly not cheap but value for money shines through. It is bold and brave but also incredibly elegant, achieving Scottish Widows' wish to set a new benchmark for this part of London. The design has a timeless quality that will age well without excessive maintenance demands. Yet it also meets objectives for a commercial building, with 18 flexible floors configured into two wings served by a core at the edge of the floor plate.

The task was challenged by the sensitive location, within sight of St Paul's Cathedral and the Guildhall. Eric Parry Architects were praised for not following the convention of surrounding blocks which step back to reduce massing and bulk. Instead, they persuaded City planners they could do better - and they did, producing an elegant curving form.

This form was created from an innovative structural frame of external steel columns filled with concrete. It requires no maintenance so the appearance did not need to be compromised to allow access for inspection. Windows could also be set back to give a sense of depth while structurally each floor required only two internal columns. Bovis was also praised for overcoming problems such as managing to hit the fit-out target on time even though the cladding contractor had gone into liquidation, leading to long delays.

A lot was achieved in transforming space around and below the existing building, a bleak mix of high level walkways and ground floor taxi rat runs left from the defunct urban plan. This is now one pedestrian friendly level, drawing the public in and through the site past water features and triple height spaces. Even the reception area has become a welcoming walkway and drop-in business space.

The national judges had some reservations, feeling the space could have been more people friendly and less 'architectural'. Another disappointment was that the building had no BREEAM certificate 'which we would have expected for a scheme of this quality.'

Yet with the overall combination of special configuration, BCO specification and design quality makes this project a worthy winner of the national award.


Regional Winner Commercial Workplace Midlands and East Anglia
Colmore Plaza, Birmingham

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Project Client:

Abstract Land

Owner:

Carlyle Group

Project Manager:

Davis Langdon

Quantity Surveyor:

Davis Langdon

Architect:

Aedas Architects

M&E Engineer:

Derry Building Services

Structural Engineer:

Brookbank Consulting

Contractor:

Bowmer & Kirkland

Investment/Property Company:

HBOS

Developer:

Abstract Land


Many central Birmingham buildings fall into the trap of being heavily value-engineered and succeed due to location rather than quality of space. This was not the case with Birmingham's Colmore Plaza, which may have its critics but in the view of the regional judges sits comfortably in its space and will be well regarded for a clear, spacious layout, quality interior and high specification.

It goes beyond what is normally expected in a regional office market, with features such as a clever system of screens which direct people to whichever lift is going to the floor they require. This speeds movement and eliminates the frustration of stopping at unwanted floors.

The building's entrepreneurial nature was not lost on the judges. It was gutsy to construct what the developer claims was the largest speculative office building at the time outside London and in a position outside the central prime core.

The building is easily visible and adjacent to a conservation area, so all façades are given importance. Construction by Bowmer and Kirkland provided high quality finishes within a confined construction site and a tight development timescale. In summary, this scheme is solid, simple, honest and effective.

The national judges were not as enthusiastic about the street setting and shallow entrance hall but were impressed by a very good BREEAM rating and the ingenuity involved in tackling structural issues. This included rafting over five basement floors and use of concrete reinforced by fibres rather than steel. That meant a big reduction in the carbon footprint.


Regional Winner Commercial Workplace South of England (outside M25) and South Wales
97, Milton Park, Abingdon Oxfordshire

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Project Client:

MEPC

Owner:

MEPC Milton Park General Partner

Project Manager:

Mace

Quantity Surveyor:

Christopher Smith Associates

Architect:

Stubbs Rich

M&E Engineer:

Hoare Lea

Structural Engineer:

Glanville Consultants

Contractor:

Mace

Investment/Property Company:

MEPC

Developer:

MEPC


MEPC's development is a 38,000ft2 speculative office building within an established business park. The judges considered that the building did a good job providing a very attractive working environment within a clean flexible floor plate. The rectangular shape offers flexibility for a single HQ or two occupiers per floor, with an offset core enabling division along a roughly 60:40 ratio. Access to the building is via a three storey, fully glazed atrium and individual floors have equal quality entrances. Ceiling heights provide excellent levels of day lighting and the planning grid offers a high degree of flexibility for occupational fit-out.

The judges were impressed that the developer had departed from standard air conditioning options for speculative buildings and adopted reduced energy, fan-assisted displacement. An active under-floor air supply system allows local control and a variety of fit-out options with ease of movement of individual fan tiles that sit on the raised floor.

The building meets key BCO specification criteria. As a long-term owner, the developer has clearly focused on minimising maintenance costs, which will benefit future occupiers. A simple palette of materials including facing brick and aluminium curtain walling with randomly placed coloured glazing panels adds life to the otherwise regular façade.

Notable sustainability features include fan-assisted displacement air conditioning, roof mounted solar powered water heating, rainwater harvesting, solar control glazing and exposed concrete soffits

The overall package is a high quality, well specified and flexible office building which manages to promote sustainability within a speculative commercial development.


Regional Winner Commercial Workplace North of England, North Wales and Northern Ireland
Cobalt 21, Cobalt Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Owner:

Cobalt South Building D Development Syndicate

Project Manager:

EC Harris

Quantity Surveyor:

Bowmer & Kirkland

Architect:

Ryder Architecture

Interior Designer:

Ryder Architecture

M&E Engineer:

NG Bailey

Structural Engineer:

Cundall

Contractor:

Bowmer & Kirkland

Developer:

Highbridge Business Park


The judges found it difficult to choose the best submission in this category because entry standards were so high and marks for the top three were extremely close. Many schemes achieved excellent results in different sectors of appraisal but fell short in one or two areas.

The winner is the latest phase of a unique success story for the North East. Cobalt Business Park has already delivered more than 1million ft2 of space since 1998 - almost all of it now let. Cobalt 21 is a speculative block of more than 100,000ft2 which acts as a new front door for the southern part of the park.

The continuous relationship between the design team and client over more than 10 years on this site has allowed the evolution and refinement of a development which suits the nuances of the region's office market. The key position meant it had to attract attention and work in harmony with buildings on the rest of the site. The landscape plays a major part in its success, creating an excellent setting.

The simple, crescent-shaped plan offers hugely flexible floor plates and user options. The shape matches the aim of producing space which could be open plan, cellular or a mix of the two. A café at the entrance establishes the comfortable atmosphere created for the workforce. The floor areas are large but a circular central breakout hub sub-divides and creates a variety of spaces in a subtle manner. The meeting room is particularly strong visually.


Regional Winner Commercial Workplace Scotland
Quartermile One, Edinburgh

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Project Client:

Gladedale Capital

Owner:

Norwich Property Trust
Morley Fund Management

Project Manager:

Gladedale Capital

Quantity Surveyor:

Thomas & Adamson

Architect:

Foster + Partners

Interior Designer:

Foster + Partners

M&E Engineer:

Hulley & Kirkwood

Structural Engineer:

Arup Scotland

Contractor:

Sir Robert McAlpine

Developer:

Gladedale Capital


Every aspect of this project was impressive. 'It lifts the spirits inside and out and makes the most of spectacular surroundings,' said the judges.

Quartermile One is the first phase of a £450m mixed use scheme on the site of the former Edinburgh Infirmary. It involved a high degree of risk because the location is not established for office use and faced big planning issues from the setting within a World Heritage Site.

There is a strong sense of arrival with modern but simple hard landscaping. The fact that this building does not apologise for being modern adds to its presence. The atrium creates a dramatic entrance but, just as importantly, provides occupants with a stimulating environment. Finishes are simple but elegant, adding to the grandeur.

The plan and position of cores allow great flexibility for sub-letting and office fit-outs ensuring that all occupiers can benefit from light, space and excellent views.

The regional judges were impressed by attention to detail and high quality finishes, although the national panel expressed disappointment about some aspects such as connections between upper and lower entrances and unnecessary complication in ceilings.

No BREEAM rating was obtained but the developers believe from their own analysis it would achieve very good rating. Few technical aspects add to sustainability but there were obvious local benefits by regenerating this part of the city.

This is a confident, proud, modern building providing outstanding accommodation worthy of the location. 'It is crisp and modern without being pastiche and stands up to surroundings without shame,' say the judges.