Located on a prominent site in the Scottish town, the proposals consolidate the currently dispersed council services under one roof. The partnership ethos for the new building is based on a concept of a shared working space strategy which will allow operational interfaces between the various stakeholders, providing users with a with a ‘one stop shop’.
The ground floor of the two storey building houses a public library, advice shop, community centre and café, grouped around a double height street. The upper floor accommodates open plan offices for the various council departments, and allows for flexible working patterns by providing the occupants with a variety of meeting spaces and quiet areas.
A south facing enclosed garden and orchard to the rear of the building enables ground floor activities such as the library, café and crèche to spill out into a dynamic external space.
The facades are clad in random cut Caithness flagstone and seamed brass to create a welcoming yet appropriately civic presence, and to set a benchmark for future urban realm improvements in the town.
The building has a sedum roof and incorporates a small scale gas CHP system, natural ventilation including a solar flue to utilize the stack effect, a heat displacement and recovery system as well as a number of other energy reduction measures. It will have an EPC rating of B+.