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The Best of British Offices

The Best of British Offices
13 October 2022

The British Council for Offices' National Awards recognises top-quality office design and functionality and sets the standard for excellence across the office sector.

Let's take a look at 2022's winners:


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Sunderland City Hall “Best of the Best”


Sunderland City Hall was celebrated as “Best of the Best” at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) National Awards, also taking home the “Corporate Workplace” award.  Judges praised Sunderland City Hall, designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects for Sunderland City Council, as an ambitious and transformative project that will be the catalyst for creating a new commercial district and rejuvenating the wider city. “It delivers an exceptional building which embraces the heritage of Sunderland whilst offering a contemporary and welcoming environment for the diverse community who use the building,” the judges said of how City Hall demonstrates how the public sector can drive positive change, restore pride and stimulate growth.



Picture: a photograph of the interior of Sunderland City Hall, showing several floors of office space. Image Credit: FaulknerBrowns Architects


“The vision and design quality are aspirational whilst remaining accessible and welcoming to all which is a huge achievement.” It is the creative commercial structuring coupled with outstanding social impact that makes this project a worthy winner.

Highly commended projects included The HALO Enterprise & Innovation Centre, Kilmarnock and Plumtree Court, London for “Corporate Workplace” and Two New Bailey Square, Salford for “Commercial Workplace”.

Six other buildings were also recognised as leading examples of excellence in office space across the UK:


“Commercial Workplace”: 80 Charlotte Street, London


Derwent London’s 80 Charlotte Street is a mixed-use scheme of 322,000 sq ft of offices, 43,000 sq ft of residential (10,000 sq ft affordable housing), 12,000 sq ft of retail and a new public realm park.

The offices are let to Arup (133,600 sq ft, £9.7m pa), The Boston Consulting Group (164,150 sq ft, £14.0m pa), Elliott Wood (11,000 sq ft) and Lee & Thompson (13,000 sq ft).

Designed by Make Architects, the integrated architectural and engineering approach to the design of the development delivers a building which is BREEAM Excellent and is net-zero carbon in operation. The judges were impressed by the quality of the landlord areas, and with the hybrid workspace, bar and rooftop terrace.


“Refurbished/ Recycled Workplace”: FORGE, Woking


FORGE by HawkinsBrown for V7 was acknowledged by judges as “a clever and thoughtful intervention that maximised its opportunity”.

Attention was focused in the areas that would have the biggest impact to the users of the building and therefore will make a meaningful difference to tenant, landlord and the local area. Under-utilised areas such as the reception, car parking, the atrium and plant rooms have all been reimagined, maximising useable space within the building, and creating new office and amenity spaces.


“Innovation”: Cadworks, Glasgow


FORE Partnership’s Cadworks is one of the most sustainable and innovative office buildings in Scotland and the first net-zero carbon building in operation in Glasgow.



Picture: a photograph of neon signage that says "Cadworks" which is mounted on a living wall. Image Credit: Cooper Cromar


Judges were impressed by how the all-electric building combines smart technology, occupier wellbeing, along with significant carbon reduction. The building features Scotland’s first cycle-in access ramp with high-quality facilities and Glasgow’s first “shell and floor” finish to prevent waste.

Occupiers have a series of turnkey packages to layer smart building technology to improve the utilisation, visibility and the health of their workspace, all via a smartphone app.


“Fit-Out of Workplace”: Dojo, The Brunel Building, London


Dojo, by BDG architecture + design, won the judges over with how it is designed for its people and culture. This fit-out sensitively builds on the base build architecture and has a warm, domestic feel to the interior, finishes and settings.

Flexibility is a core design principle, team areas are reconfigurable, with a family of moveable furniture elements in support of their agile work processes. A dynamic accommodation stair connects floors through a social hub.


“Projects up to 1,500”: Bicester Eco-Business Centre, Elmsbrook


In a time of climate emergency, judges said the Bicester Eco Business Centre provides proof that we have the tools to meet the 2030 carbon targets. Achieving zero-carbon in operation, as well as Passivhaus Plus and BREEAM Outstanding, judges said the building by Architype for Cherwell District Council is as forward-thinking as it is high achieving.

The first Passivhaus Plus office in the UK, it takes the principles of quality, comfort, and sustainability standards to provide an exemplary workplace providing a mix of co-working and private office space.


“Test of Time”: The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich


“The Enterprise Centre is a celebration of sustainability, nature, innovation and collaboration,” this year’s judges said of the BREEAM Outstanding Passive House building that was featured at COP26.

The use of locally sourced natural materials, fresh air and natural ventilation, daylighting and stable temperatures leads to enhanced quality, as well as creating an excellent environment for health and wellbeing. The operational performance of the building was closely monitored over three years with extensive occupier feedback and engagement to tweak and improve the building's performance.

The centre, designed by Architype for the University of East Anglia also acts as an incubator space for local start-up businesses. 



Picture: a photograph of the exterior of The Enterprise Centre. Image Credit: Keppie Design


Main Picture: a photograph of the exterior of Sunderland City Hall. Image Credit: FaulknerBrowns Architects

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 13 October 2022


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