New 400,000 sq ft, BREEAM 'Outstanding' headquarters for the Co-operative Group set to become the largest commercial office building in Manchester
The Co-operative’s current premises are spread across 8 separate buildings and a total of 65 floors. The new head office will bring all employees together under one roof. To facilitate the movement of the 3,500 employees and prepare staff during the interim period for new ways of working, areas of the existing buildings were fitted out with new concepts for staff to trial with feedback informing the subsequent iterations of the design.
Whilst the building is designed to meet the business needs of the Co-operative, the brief demanded a design solution that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate their own future requirements as well as those of the commercial marketplace. The floorplates and cores are designed to allow a range of sub-division opportunities, both vertically and horizontally with separate ‘front doors'.
The Co-operative’s ambitious sustainability agenda has been the key driver behind the design concept and has informed all aspects of the design development. The central atrium is the heart of the building, on both a social and environmental level. Fresh air is draw in to the atrium at low level through earth tubes that pre-condition the incoming air. After passing across the floorplates the air is extracted via the double skin façade that also acts as a shading device and thermal buffer around the building. The development of the double skin façade design focused on optimising the amount of glazing and solar shading to maximise daylight penetration whilst minimising solar gain. The façade design coupled with generous ceiling heights means there is less reliance on artificial lighting which together with the embedded thermal mass of the exposed concrete coffered soffits reduces the overall heat build up, cooling loads, energy costs, plant sizes and lifecycle costs.