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THE HQ

GARNHAM STREET

MILTON COMMON

NEW CROSS ROAD

HOLME

WESTON HALL

BYRON STREET

BEECH HILL

ST. OLAVS

MAY GURNEY

THE HQ

New net zero commercial HQ for blue-chip company, with associated control centre, landscaped public realm & parking facilities.

As a studio, pioneering sustainable design is of paramountcy to the team. This, alongside having a client with similar carbon net zero aspirations, leads to a very special brief.  The variety of uses for this commercial HQ includes a 24/7 control centre with significant security parameters, flexible work space, extensive server allocation with complex M&E requirements, internalised parking decks with future flexibility to convert into flexible building space and landscape terracing.

Retrofitting the existing building on site was an early design decision made with sustainability as the key driver, which resulted in a lightweight, translucent concave structure placed on top of the existing building to reflect the existing grid to the building in a subtle manner. A centralised glazed timber core created a meaningful arrival touch point for guests and visitors, with views directly through the woodland. Stitched onto the west of the building is the control centre which offers a ‘highly secure wing’ and gives a clear distinction between public and private space allocation.

Surrounded by greenery, the building softly places itself in the landscape, warm brick tones blur into the forest, glazed cores allow woodland transparency and engagement with nature, whilst the concave rooftop extension offers a discrete insight into the activities happening within.

(01)  Terrace
(02)  Control Centre
(03)  Existing Building
(04)  Focal Courtyard

Phasing – The existing site is currently in use by the client and the control centre would need to remain operational throughout the construction process. Removing disused structures from the site offered adequate space for the first phase of the building to be erected. Adding the additional floor to the existing building could then commence, along with the additional floor within the existing building and the access core that joins the two blocks together.  Ensuring future phasing could take place has been designed into the scheme- with car parking grids set out for future flexibility.

Phasing – The existing site is currently in use by the client and the control centre would need to remain operational throughout the construction process. Removing disused structures from the site offered adequate space for the first phase of the building to be erected. Adding the additional floor to the existing building could then commence, along with the additional floor within the existing building and the access core that joins the two blocks together.  Ensuring future phasing could take place has been designed into the scheme- with car parking grids set out for future flexibility.

Control Centre – Why are all control centres the same? Are there other ways of laying out the space to create better working environments?  The concept of a radially arrayed grid with individuals looking towards a central glazed courtyard was the vision. Screens anchored around the glazed courtyard allowing employees to see all the information they need without been over exposed to information overload of non relevant material. Focused design means focused minds.

Splicing into the radial grid, shards are then pulled out from the glazed courtyard to create small ‘desk neighbourhoods’ to divide the open plan office subtly into focussed teams, whilst still allowing for larger team gathering points in emergencies.

BREEAM – An outstanding rating is targeted giving the opportunity to fully explore new and innovative sustainable practices to go alongside the carbon net zero vision. Considering sustainability at the outset rather than bolting on to the design at a later stage has been fundamental with wider team debate crafting a environmentally led approach from the get go. Flexibility of space, future proofing use class optioneering, rationalisation of structural grids and localised material consideration.

Stack ventilation in the atrium, ground source heat pumps, green roofs, extensive vegetation, rain water harvesting, solar shading, embodied carbon and sustainable materials are just some of the practices proposed.

Greenery – Situated adjacent to a forest, maximising views towards the trees will help improve the quality of the working environment.  Wellness in the workplace has informed a number of key design decisions- why shouldn’t every employee, no matter what department, have the same access to daylight, outlook and welfare facilities?  The design response ensures that all the workforce get exemplary workplace facilities, ensuring people are excited and engaged to be in the workplace.

Design – Early on a ‘new build’ design approach was explored, but discounted due to the sustainable credentials of working with the existing building offering more beneficial carbon credits. There were a number of key lessons learnt from this exploration which informed the direction of the scheme, including deep overhangs, anchoring the scheme in vegetation, orientation of the building to assist with solar shading, whilst also maximising views out over the elevated landscape.

Focal Point – As mentioned earlier in the text, questioning the status quo is something we try and do on all sites- are there better ways of doing things? Can we create a better working environment? To further enhance the greenery within the office, a central courtyard is proposed in the heart of the control centre. This creates a natural focus point for the office plate, allowing natural light into the deepest part of the plan, as well as secure outdoor space for the control centre workers to utilise mid shift, offering short, much needed breaks for the highly skilled workforce.

Project Info

STATUS
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT, 2021
TYPE
OFFICE
LOCATION
CONFIDENTIAL
CLIENT
CONFIDENTIAL
AREA
7600m²
COORDINATES
CONFIDENTIAL

The Team

The Client
Confidiential
Project Managers
Carter Jonas