It's off the hook...

New headquarters for O2 by Nicholas Hare Architects

by James 12 October 2010
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    Nicholas Hare Architects were commissioned by SEGRO to design a 10,000 sq m headquarters building for O2 / Telefonica. The new building was intended to form the keystone of O2’s plans to consolidate staff from a number of buildings onto a single campus site in the Slough Trading Estate. The new building needed to allow for a link to the 1980s SEGRO building already occupied by O2, but also to be able to stand on its own as a long-term option.

    The O2 brief required the largest possible floorplate. The office space is arranged in a U shape around a four-storey atrium which is aligned with the central axis of the old building, parallel to Bath road. (The new link and the internal fit-out have been commissioned by O2 and designed by others.) The front corner of the new building has been cut off to expose the entrance to the atrium and present an angled facade to those travelling westwards.

    This south-facing glazed facade is protected from excessive sunshine by stainless steel mesh (the intention is that this may become an interactive media wall). Otherwise the three lower floors are clad with white reconstituted stone panels. The elevations respond to their particular orientations, with larger windows on the north and fins elsewhere to give protection from the sun.

    The cantilevered roof above the set-back glazing of the top floor adds a dynamic feature to the Bath Road streetscape. O2’s operational requirements dictated a four-pipe fan-coil solution but both structure and envelope were designed to allow for retrofitting of passive cooling. Planning required a BREEAM rating of ‘Good’, but ‘Very Good’ was achieved with the team ensuring that an enhancement to ‘Excellent’ could be achieved at completion of fit-out. The use of photovoltaic cells and rainwater harvesting contributed to achieving this score.

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