The landmark building – set to be completed in 2011– is a pathfinder scheme in line with thegovernment’s ‘better ways of working initiative’, it will conclude the first stage of themasterplan creating a new ‘Civic Quarter’ in the town.Several months’ consultation between HLM and the Council’s members and modernisationteam led to a clear and ambitious brief; delivering the twin needs of effective public interfaceand secure working environment in a welcoming space that is sustainable, procured througha property strategy which provides unbeatable value to the taxpayer.
HLM’s design pays close attention to spatial arrangements and efficiencies in workingpractices. Careful research into time spent at workstations, attendance and staff/departmentworking practices led to a ‘clear desk’ policy, flexible working zones, informal and securemeeting spaces, and core customer clusters offering internal visibility and simplicity ofwayfinding.Within the service centre, various service delivery clusters offer an open and welcomingenvironment to the public, while also responding in a subtle way to create a safe and secureenvironment for staff. Each cluster consists of wide, heavy, colour-coded furniture chosen forfunction and safety.
Finishes and colours have been designed to influence mood and aid wayfinding. Hardsurfaces will encourage flow, while soft flooring and furnishings will create a welcomingenvironment. Textured surfaces, innovative feature lighting and planting create visual interestand comfort for customers, helped by large-scale graphics.Externally, masonry and glass materials will emphasise the building’s civic stature, withglazing at lower levels, designed to create a sense of openness and reflect the council’s policyof open and transparent governance.
Designed to achieve BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the building will use a mixed-mode ventilationsystem making natural ventilation possible for most of the year. Glazing solutions meet notjust aesthetic aims, with the introduction of a ‘climate skin’ at the upper levels, designed toenhance natural ventilation and general insulation qualities.Lighting sensors, automated blinds, green and brown roofs, rainwater harvesting, 500 sq mof photovoltaic panels and a building management system will reduce carbon consumption byover 50% relative to Econ 19 accepted best practice. Once the next stage of the masterplanis complete, the offices will be linked to a bio-fuel tri-generation CHP station.
Finally, the results of these design methods are projected to reduce space requirements byaround 2,500 sq m and cost by £5.5 million, giving maximum value through rationalisation,restructuring and a strong emphasis on sustainability.