Aedas creates an icon for Greater Manchester Police
The requirement for a new Force Headquarters for Greater Manchester Police was identified following a review and rationalisation of the Police's estate. Greater Manchester Police's prime objective was the creation of an iconic, state-of-the-art headquarters facility that not only provided the authority with a building with civic presence and quality, but also created an inspiring and welcoming environment able to fully support the team in providing the best level of public service.
In addition to the internal operational requirements of the tenant, the site layout had to satisfy the detailed requirements of the Home Office, to provide a secure standoff around the building. Through the careful integration of landscape features and Home Office requirements Aedas were able to maintain the quality of the public realm throughout the business park creating a civic setting for the building making it welcoming and approachable.
At the heart of the design process the aim was to ensure that the arrival at the building, movement through the building and the quality of the finishes were dramatic, exciting, inspiring and welcoming. Aedas Architects achieved this by developing a rich and vibrant colour palette, incorporating the client's brand colours, and an 'icon' theme unique to Greater Manchester Police.
Six iconic people (Robert Peel, Winston Churchill, Marie Curie, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and Emmeline Pankhurst) represent the different floors symbolising the values, beliefs and achievements admired by the police and community also serving to facilitate wayfinding. Typographic artwork was created by making the icon facesfrom keywords representing the ethos of Greater Manchester Police Force. Quotes from well-known politicians, sportsmen, businessmen, authors and musicians are also used throughout the building to give colour and inspiration.
Police forces as an organisation are made up of a vast range of diverse functions and services all with their own specific operational requirements. As a whole they need working space that responds to a dynamic and challenging world to meet the demands of modern day policing. To consolidate and enhance those working procedures within one facility the project team worked closely with the future stakeholders from project inception to construction completion.
The principle challenge that the building design had to respond to was the conflicting requirements of the end users; Greater Manchester Police and the Counter Terrorism Unit. The aspirations of Greater Manchester Police were to create an open, transparent and welcoming building which reached out to the community, providing a first class working environment promoting team working and cross fertilisation of information amongst the staff. The aspirations of the Counter Terrorism Unit were similar in terms of promoting teamwork, but with a strong focus on security and privacy. This conflict presented a design challenge to the architectural language of the building, leading to a robust and secure exterior which responds to the technical requirements of the Home Office and CPNI, with a much lighter interior arranged around the central atrium space.
Cost control analysis was provided by the main contractor who had to provide 95% Cost Certainty at Stage C and 100% Cost Certainty at Stage E. This led to an open book policy being encouraged to ensure maximum value. Continual cost balancing exercises provided the design team with opportunities to make strategic savings in order to elevate more vital components of the scheme to deliver further quality and detailed work upfront with selected specialist subcontractors provided the necessary level of input to inform costing and interface design.
A key component of ensuring that the required build quality was achieved was the appointment and procurement methodology employed by the Developer. The design was fully developed by the time the contract price was agreed, at which point the Architect took on a dual role for the remainder of the project. The design was completed on behalf of the contractor, but the architect also provided a retained role specifically aimed at ensuring the original design intent was maintained and the standard of workmanship was achieved throughthe full inspection of the building at completion.