A decade of government austerity: The need to improve efficiency and rethink the public estate, has created a requirement for agile workplaces with reduced asset costs for civic organisations. Combined with the demise of town centre high streets as retail destinations towns like Northampton were in desperate need of regeneration. We worked with Lendlease, as joint client adviser, on the redevelopment of a derelict town centre site into a multiple award-winning HQ for 3,000 employees. Reducing from 12 offices into a single location One Angel Square became the catalyst for Northampton’s 5 Northampton Alive regeneration projects. You can find out more here.

Agility goes mainstream: With cost and time at a premium, we were invited to work for Westminster City Council, as part of the Faithful+Gould client team, on the radical refurbishment of the 22-storey 1960’s Westminster City Hall. Providing design oversight and technical support on this complex multi-million construction project, the building was successfully completed in 2019 with the client overjoyed by their new workplace, having moved back into only half of the area they previously occupied, due to considered reorganising of internal areas increasing the usable space by 30%. For more on this project click here.

Looking to the future: This year we have the implementation of Redbridge Council’s community hubs program to develop, the start on site of Crawley Councils new Civic HQ, a major refurbishment of multi-tenanted office space in Cheltenham and continued work with an intergovernmental scientific organisation to enjoy. In this next decade, we can’t wait to help and guide many more clients through the idea-brief-design-and-build process – generating exceptional places and sustainable results.

A decade of demand-led change part 1

As we enter a new decade, we’ve been reflecting on the successes of the last ten years. Having seen major political, social and environmental change we wanted to show what we’ve been up to.

A carbon-neutral trailblazer: Our innovate-construct building seems more relevant now than it did when it first opened back in 2011. Made entirely of a timber structure, with phase-change materials and intelligent building-monitoring systems, this award-winning business incubator showcased innovative low-carbon thinking and technologies whilst actively promoting local economic sustainability. With the UK’s declarations of a climate emergency in 2019, following the Paris climate agreement of 2015, construction in this coming decade will play a critical role in the UK’s carbon reduction targets for 2030, accounting for 45% of total UK carbon emissions. More of this project can be found here.

A challenging context: Political change, Brexit and the impact of national infrastructure projects such as HS2 will have profound effects. In 2012 we secured for Stoneleigh Science Park, Warwickshire a 1M sq ft expansion masterplan. In 2014 we then delivered the first showcase HQ for a major tenant and in 2017 successfully achieved detailed planning consent for the relocation and new 90,000 sq ft of industrial development, in the Green Belt, ensuring the future growth and success of this key scientific hub in the Midlands. To read more about this story click here.

Understanding the science

For over six years we’ve been assisting an intergovernmental scientific organisation with developing a modern collaborative work environment for their expanding workforce. We helped the client journey from business strategy through to selection of teams and the design development of a highly sustainable, high-quality and healthy workplace. As the design is now well underway we thought it was about time we started telling this story.

Our client is a world-leading scientific IGO whose current location is a 1979 purpose-built facility. With changes made over time, this site now accommodates the centre’s 360 staff from more than 30 countries. As the building is reaching the end of its useful life and further expansion on the way, we were brought in to help.

We undertook extensive consultations with multiple client internal working groups and committees. The outcome of this, as well as other analysis and research, was a functional brief describing the scope and quality of a new development alongside the client’s ambitions. Now we knew what they needed; the next bit is how to design, procure and build it.

A true council and community vision

Over the last few months, we’ve been busy immersing ourselves in London’s Borough of Redbridge. We’re working with the local council to realise their transformative community hub programme. As the first stage of this process is coming to a close, and the next just starting, we thought it’s about time to share a little about this exciting project.

The project is an ambitious integration of council community services with voluntary groups and residents into six state-of-the-art community hubs locations. The aim is to help solve the borough’s challenges together with the wider community as well as consolidate dispersed council services.

The first stage of this project has involved an in-depth review of existing council community services and partnerships, one-to-one consultations with council and partner stakeholders and an extensive public engagement process. As a result of all this, we worked with the council in identifying opportunities and developing recommendations for the future community hubs. These ideas will now be tested by the project steering groups.

The next stage is to form an evidence-based functional brief based on the input from the council, their partners and residents. This brief will be an integral part of the business plan which needs to be signed off by the cabinet before starting the next stage of the project.

It’s inspiring to meet such enthusiastic people and work with a client who cares about the project and community. We’re very excited to be part of a team aiming to deliver truly forward-thinking step change from needs-based services towards an offer built around real people’s potential for self-healing and finding meaning within the community; be it through volunteering, learning or information.

Let’s talk about Lambeth

Lambeth Town Hall and Civic Centre has been a high achiever since it’s completion. We worked with our sister company, Cartwright Pickard, to create a healthy working space desperately needed by Lambeth Council. The project consolidated the council’s core office buildings from fourteen offices, spread across the borough (some not in the best condition), to two light and airy workplaces designed for people. This move not only helped improve the well-being of staff and building users but saved the taxpayer £4.5m a year as well as reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint by two-thirds. With such success, it’s no wonder this project has already been winning awards!

To date Lambeth Town Hall and Civic Centre has been shortlisted for 5 awards and won the Constructing Excellence SECBE – Preservation and Rejuvenation Award, the prestigious RIBA London Award and, only last week, the Office Agents Society Development Award – Best New Build Office. We are pleased to have worked with an amazing project team and client to achieve such a fantastic building.

You can find out more information about the project and our involvement here.