Workspace Environment Small (Under 40,000 Sq Ft)
Winner: The Beecroft Building by Hawkins\Brown
Image Credit: Jack Hobhouse and Jim Stephenson
Sponsored by Bisley
The Department of Theoretical and Experimental Physics had a strong and ambitious vision for a modern collaborative workplace that would challenge its working practices and move away from a traditional, highly institutional environment.
Two separate disciplines with very different requirements are encouraged to share an environment more akin to a modern workplace than a physics institution. Offices and collaboration spaces are organised within a five-storey atrium, connected by a meandering staircase. Breakout spaces are set out at half levels, with informal seating clusters arranged around large double-height blackboards. These provide opportunities for small-scale group discussions and serendipitous meetings.
Cutting-edge research requires a quiet working environment, but findings also need to be discussed with peers, so the layout of the cellular offices around the central atrium encourages staff to come out and discuss findings with a wider audience. A glazed roof above the central atrium space draws natural light in, and meeting platforms are staggered so that each benefit from daylight and views of the sky above.
The warm and contemporary material palette contrasts with the starker lab environment in the basement levels. References were made to the materiality of physics; copper, graphene and steel finishes were contrasted with warmer domestic finishes of walnut, tulipwood and textiles. Different furniture solutions and colour schemes gave each collaboration cluster its own character within the scheme.
The success of the design could be judged by an increase in applications for the department and the numbers of joint research papers published.
The judges said...
‘The collaborative central atrium is key to its success. Daylight and natural materials create warmth and texture. Quite breathtaking’
Finalists & Judges’ Comments
Selfridges Executive Offices by Alex Cochrane Architects
‘Simple, bold and refined use of colour giving a fresh and inviting appearance whilst exuding quality’
Scott House, Waterloo Station by Ben Adams Architects
‘The design is a sophisticated pallete, and the space is well curated with accessories and planting, looking like a calm oasis!’
200 Gray’s Inn Road by Conran + Partners
‘Blurring the boundaries of workplace and hospitality; high-quality materials and seamless integration of conciergestyle service, cafe and work settings’
Pixel Factory by Gensler
‘A strong palette of colours and materials; dynamic forms with a variety of work setting and spatial experiences’
Fora Borough Workspace by Hassell
‘Well thought-out and planned co-working space. Inspiring and fresh’
Return to Innocence by Houseplan
‘Striking design and calming colour palette’
Matrix Office by Matrix Design
‘Unique design incorporating interesting features’
Studio 19 by Modus
‘A vibrant, energetic entry – it has an eclectic mix of furniture, space types and work settings. It has a real sense of playfulness’
Photobox Group by Oktra
‘A renovation that celebrates the base building architecture. A celebration of contemporary interiors’
Touch the sky by Touch Design
‘Clean lines and a minimalist feel to this simple yet inviting workspace’