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High Performing Buildings – October’s Roundup

High Performing Buildings – October’s Roundup
23 October 2023

ThisWeekinFM’s high-performing buildings roundup features the winners from the British Council for Offices National Awards.


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Best of the Best and Corporate Workplace Award – Barclays Glasgow Campus


Barclays’ campus has regenerated a derelict site on the bank of the River Clyde. It particularly impressed the judges with the benefits it has delivered for both employees and the wider community through considered placemaking and social initiatives. The judges remarked that combining such initiatives with exceptional workplace design makes it a “truly outstanding” project. Notable for its focus on creating an inclusive and “barrier-free” working environment, the campus also deploys renewable energy technologies and houses an educational Sustainability Centre. Amenities on campus include wellbeing facilities, community exhibition spaces, and a street food market.

Barclays has grown its workforce in Glasgow by over 90 per cent in the last four years and is on track to have around 5,000 employees on campus by 2023.


Highly commended – TJX Watford Campus


Another campus, home to TJX in Watford, was a highly commended Corporate Workplace for its positive contribution to the local area, where the retailer has been a key employer for 25 years.

The site was previously named a BCO Regional Award Winner for the Midlands and Central England


Commercial Workplace – One Portwall Square, Bristol


The judges were particularly struck by One Portwall Square’s pioneering mixed mode ventilation and cooling systems. Generous floor to ceiling heights, roof terraces on every level and a touchless journey throughout the building also contribute to its success.

The six-storey Grade A office building of 35,750 sq ft was constructed on the site of disused squash courts and provides desirable sustainable workplace to the Bristol office market. 



Picture: a photograph of one of the corridors at One Portwall Square. Image Credit: Rob Parrish


Fit-Out of Workplace –  Diageo 1HQ, London


Described as “clever and thought through” by the judges, Diageo’s new global HQ is the winner of the Fit-Out of Workplace award. As part of the refit of the space, generous interventions such as a striking feature staircase make connectivity a focal point. The judges also noted that state-of-the-art technology has been deployed with a user experience that is both functional and inspirational.


Projects up to 1,500m² – Threesixty Architecture Studio, Inverness


The prize for Projects up to 1,500m² went to Threesixty Architecture’s own studio in Inverness, for making an impact larger than its relatively small scale and demonstrating a commitment to “walking the walk”. To support the recovery of the high street, the office plays host equally well to yoga classes as a venue for the RIAS convention. A sensitive approach to construction procurement saw the extensive use of local trades to create a beautifully crafted workspace.


Refurbished/Recycled Workplace – Sycamore House, Stevenage


The judges found Sycamore House’s transformation from tired and underutilised storage shed to cutting edge office “truly inspirational”. In the Refurbished/Recycled Workplace category, award-winning building, modern and flexible workspaces combine with vibrant communal areas to encourage interaction between occupiers. Large meeting spaces, a welcoming café, winter gardens, and clever use of height and volume create a space that the judges said feels genuinely collaborative.


Highly Commended – Calico, Manchester; The Kensington Building, London


The BCO celebrated the abundance of high-quality entries to the Refurbished/Recycled Workplace category by highly commending two projects. At Calico, a clear distinction between Grade II-listed building fabric and new interventions – including art, colour and texture – won the judges over. The Kensington Building was recognised for its beauty, biodiversity and sustainability credentials.


Innovation – Five Bank Street, London


At Five Bank Street, the judges felt that the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) demonstrated a passion for doing the right thing, both socially and environmentally, while providing a state-of-the-art office environment for its workforce and clients. A materials passport and deconstruction guide for the project was one of the reasons the judges decided it was worthy of the Innovation award. On-going post occupancy evaluation also stood out as exemplary. 



Picture: a photograph of a communal meeting space at Five Bank Street showing ceiling-mounted sculptures that hang down. Image Credit: Will Perkins 


ESG – HERE Building, Thames Valley Park


Through the creative repositioning of the HERE Building, a forensic approach was adopted to tracking and minimising its carbon impact. The winner of the ESG award exemplifies how data-led design can deliver an aspirational product. Its timber atrium is a tangible expression of how ESG has permeated every aspect of the project, redefining how a business park can meet the needs of today’s occupiers.


Test of Time – White Collar Factory, London


White Collar Factory, a previous winner of the BCO’s National Innovation Award in 2018, was presented the Test of Time award. Described by the judges as “a very brave project” that created the next-generation flexible office, the building has allowed businesses to grow, during and beyond the pandemic, and is now fully let.


Highly commended – Waterfront Point, Widnes


Highly commended for the Test of Time award, Waterfront Point felt to the judges like “a real home” for the workforce of Halton Housing and has been easily adapted to reflect changes to the business post-COVID.


President’s Award – HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Locations Programme


The President’s Award was presented to HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Locations Programme, a more than decade-long workplace restructure and estate transformation within one of the UK’s biggest employers. In that time, 11 new or refurbished HMRC offices have been in the running for the BCO’s Regional Awards.

73,000 civil servants now benefit from smarter working and a more supportive culture – increasing colleague satisfaction to 88 per cent. At the same time, the new regional centres enable better service to taxpayers, while supporting levelling up and local communities.

Picture: a photograph of the exterior of the Barclays Glasgow campus taken from the river. Image Credit: Gensler

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 23 October 2023


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