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Ropemaker Place, London, United Kingdom 
Thursday 16 Aug 2012
 
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Macquarie’s Ropemaker Place was designed as a model for a new transparency in banking services revolving around an open atrium and connecting staircase 

By virtue of their size, large corporations face a spatial problem of creating a unified community and leveraging their considerable knowledge sharing potential. Macquarie took a radical approach to connecting its separate divisions with its new London headquarters. Having been fragmented in different buildings, Macquarie leased 216,000SF in 6 large floors for 1,800 staff in a new LEED Platinum/BREAAM rated building.

Stacked floors in the building provided an innate barrier to business connectivity. In an effort to facilitate a clear and open connection between the corporate divisions, the project team worked with Macquarie to carve out a new vertical opening in the form of an atrium.

The visible energy of people circulating and interacting in the highly transparent atrium serves as the catalyst for drawing the different business units together and provides the synergy to collaborate with each other in new business ventures. It further underscores the financial services company's brand as an agile, forward thinking and highly collaborative 21st Century.

SOCIAL

Macquarie's aims were to create a unified office environment with a heavy emphasis on collaboration, transparency and service. Macquarie wanted to encourage as much social interaction between groups as possible.

The spaces are linked by a new central atrium and staircase that extends through all levels. This promotes connectivity and communication between departments. Like a vertical ‘high street', the new atrium accommodates key communal functions as genuine destinations, which together create a village of opportunities for the workers. Destinations around the atrium are a mixture of ‘meeting tree' rooms, staff kitchens on every floor, open work areas, Level 11 Guest Relations facilities and amenity spaces like the Level 8 Café, the garden terrace and engine.

TECHNOLOGICAL

The trading rooms have innovative building services solutions.  These include a unique cooling system using chilled beams and water-cooled desks. The passive custom designed chilled beams avoid drafts and lighting glare, reduce energy costs and provide more fresh content to the conditioned air.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Several sustainable initiatives are achieved with the building, including significant decreases in energy consumption, waste and elevator usage, and net carbon footprint reduction, in line with BREAAM Excellent and LEED Platinum rating. Structural beams cut out of the atrium were reused to create bridges and cantilevered pods. Engineered cellular space reduces churn costs, and a computer-controlled daylight harvesting system with LED lighting provides significant energy savings.

ECONOMIC

Innovative strategies extended to the project delivery process that cut time and costs radically. Macquarie entered into an Alliance contract with their builder, Overbury, and worked collaboratively with the project team to deliver the project in 12 months from lease agreement to staff move-in.

The atrium meeting rooms meant that investment events that used to be held in local hotels can now happen in house, thereby saving Macquarie money but also creating the opportunity to host clients in their own building.

PRODUCTIVITY

A 25 room meeting suite connects to a 13 meeting room ‘meeting tree' around the atrium offering a range of A/V enabled meeting rooms at many different delivery scales (from 1 person to 300).  The abundance of enabled meeting rooms provide immediate meeting opportunities with other locations and reduce travel time and cost.

With two half floors set aside for growth by acquisition, Activity Based Working furniture settings were installed with Wi-Fi and wireless presenter technology included to encourage more flexible and collaborative growth patterns.

 

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CLIVE WILKINSON ARCHITECTS

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