September 7, 2015
It may have the dubious distinction of being awarded the Carbuncle Cup of the year; but 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, better known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ is now almost 98 percent let. Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities have announced that Castleton Commodities International (“CCI”) has leased the top office floor of the building on a long term lease. With the recent letting of level 31 to credit rating agency DBRS, just 15,000 sq ft of office space remains at the 37 storey building, which has been accused of creating a wind tunnel around its base and has also required alterations to its façade after it was found to be reflecting and magnifying light from the sun onto nearby streets. According to Magesh Nair, CCI’s Chief Operating Officer the building will provide the operational resilience required for its business, and is an “optimal environment for our employees and visitors.”
September 2, 2015
In one of the least surprising announcements of the year so far, Building Design magazine has announced that this year’s winner of its annual Carbuncle Cup is London’s Walkie Talkie. The building, officially 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, was always the frontrunner. Its bulbous 37-storey design has always been a source of contention with the Government, UNESCO and English Heritage raising objections to its impact on the London skyline. During its construction it raised practical concerns in addition to its undeniable aesthetic challenges and the shaky design of its ‘sky garden’, most notably by reflecting and concentrating sunlight to fry the street below (a problem solved by a multi-million pound investment in alterations to the facade) and by funnelling strong winds around its base (an issue that has prompted a wider look into the impact of tall buildings at street level).
August 31, 2015
BSI, the UK based organisation responsible for developing and publishing standards for businesses, has revised BS 8536-1 Briefing for design and construction: Code of practice for facilities management (Buildings infrastructure). The standard has been included in the Level 2 BIM package which the Government expects companies to offer when tendering for Government contracts. The standard has now been brought into line with the principles of the Soft Landings Framework and Government Soft Landings (GSL) post occupancy evaluation and BIM requirement. Soft landings is designed to enable the transition from design and construction into operation. It advocates collaboration during briefing, design, construction and handover between the design and construction team and the operator, operations team or facilities manager.
July 19, 2015
In this week’s issue; Mark Eltringham argues that the focus on a mythical gender pay gap, as repeated by the Prime Minister, obscures the real issues women (and a growing number of men) face; more evidence emerges to crush another myth, this time the one that equates the health impacts of sitting with smoking; the UK’s ‘greenest Government ever’ abandons its zero carbon buildings plans; Simon Heath questions the reported impact of robots on workplaces; Sara Bean on how firms are leaving remote working employees to fund their own kit; the under-reported and ongoing allure for employees of filthy lucre over flexible working opportunities; and the enduring suspicion of wearable technology in the British workplace. Subscribe for free quarterly issues of Work&Place and weekly news here, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
July 9, 2015
As if there aren’t enough reasons to dislike tall buildings already, two news stories drop into our inbox this week which add to the growing charge sheet against these phallic assaults on our senses and sensibilities. According to the first story, it appears that the recent proliferation of towers in London not only means that the city looks more and more like Chicago, it is functioning more like it too. There are a growing number of complaints from the public about the winds that whip around the bases of the capital’s protrusions which were ‘unforeseen by planners’, according to a report in Building magazine. Meanwhile, developers in Melbourne have made the civilisation-ending announcement that the design of a new mixed use skyscraper in the city is based on a Beyoncé music video and make particular reference to the shape of the artist’s backside.
July 7, 2015
For some time now, the most talked about workplace issue has been wellbeing. Where once firms sought ways of using office design to solve a productivity puzzle, they are now increasingly concerned with the mental, psychological and physical health of employees. This is the case for most organisations but doubly so for those whose business is directly related to those issues, such as Melbourne based health insurance firm Medibank. The firm, Australia’s largest health insurer has moved to a new headquarters building in the Docklands district of the city and took the opportunity to create a space which it claims should be hardwired with the proactive principles of personal wellbeing and health with which its business is associated. The building has been designed by Hassell to meet these principles and includes a facility with outdoor sporting facilities, an edible garden and other green spaces.
July 6, 2015
Land Securities has announced the first office pre-let at its Nova scheme based at London’s Victoria. Private equity investor Advent International has agreed to take more than 25,000 sq ft on the 8th floor of Nova South on a 15 year lease. Set on a 5.5 acre site, the first phase of the mixed use Nova scheme will deliver 480,000 sq ft of grade A office space through two distinct buildings – Nova North and Nova South. The Nova scheme is the result of a collaboration between four architectural firms – Benson + Forsyth, Flanagan Lawrence, Lynch Architects and, overseeing the project, PLP Architecture. On completion the site will comprise five buildings delivering 603,000 sq ft of Grade A offices, 193,000 sq ft of apartments and 85,000 sq ft of restaurant, bar and retail space within a new, 82,700 square feet, pedestrianized, landscaped public space, opposite Victoria’s mainline railway station.
July 1, 2015
The case for sustainable building design used to be based on two straightforward principles. The first was that buildings had to offer up some sustainable features to comply with the ethical standards of their occupiers. The second was that there was some financial benefit. Often these principles went hand in hand, especially when it came to issues such as energy efficiency. They remain the foundations of the idea of green building design and are applicable across a range of building accreditations such as BREEAM as well as standards relating to specific products and policies. Over the past couple of years, however, we have become increasingly aware of other drivers that might make us all re-evaluate how we approach sustainability. These drivers are based on a more sophisticated understanding of green building design and the benefits for all of those involved.
June 28, 2015
In this week’s issue; Mark Eltringham on the challenge for FMs in managing buildings not of their own making; and why Charles Eames came to tire of his association with his famous lounge chair. Douglas Langmead explains how the patterns of work and place in the Middle East evolved differently from the west and Lee Parsons warns that not enough thought is given to creating workspaces that support knowledge circulation. We provide a gallery of the winners of this year’s RIBA awards; the CIPD and BIFM identify ways the office environment influence workplace performance, construction begins on the UK’s “greenest commercial building” and new DOH guidelines on creating a productive and healthy workplace. Subscribe for free quarterly issues of Work&Place and for weekly news via the subscription form in the right hand sidebar, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
June 24, 2015
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has announced the winners of the Best Tall Building Awards for 2015. The winners were selected from a pool of 123 entries based on an evaluation by a panel of industry experts. The organisers claim that not only do the winners exemplify best practice they also advocate ‘improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive effect on the people who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit’. Many of this year’s winners demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, especially those that make use of greenery to enhance the looks and environmental credentials of the building. The organisers also note that buildings are better integrated into their surroundings which ‘has been a long-needed requirement’. The Best Tall Buildings have been named from 33 countries in four competing regions.
June 24, 2015
Morgan Sindall has completed construction of what is claimed to be the UK’s greenest commercial building, the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia. The building boasts record-breaking sustainability credentials including both BREEAM Outstanding and Passivhaus accreditations. It has been designed to maximise the use of low embodied carbon materials over a projected 100-year life span. The building incorporates an innovation lab, a 300-seat lecture theatre, flexible workspaces, teaching and learning facilities, as well as business ‘hatcheries’ and incubator units for small businesses and start-ups in the low carbon sector. The developers believe that by placing like-minded academic and private sector occupiers side by side, the centre will foster innovation, stimulate smarter ways of working, promote industry standards and create new sustainable supply chains.
June 23, 2015
The full list of regional winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards for 2015 has been finalised. The list of 37 winners will now go on to compete for the Stirling Prize in October. This year’s list is dominated by London projects, as is often the case, but also by homes whereas last year they were dominated by large scale projects, especially The Shard. We’ve rounded up a gallery of the major workplace projects in the list for England and Wales with some notes extracted from RIBA’s own commentaries (so don’t blame us). Each entry is hyperlinked for you to discover more about the project. Unfortunately, the regional winners for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not well served by their respective websites, which is a particular shame given the success Scotland in particular has in terms of the number and apparent quality of its winning projects.