BCO announces winners of North of England property awards

Manchester-based businesses dominated the BCO Northern Awards with Hanover, PwC Manchester and No. 1 Spinningfields all being recognised as some of the best workplaces in the North of England at the annual British Council for Offices (BCO) regional property sector awards held at The Principal Hotel in Manchester. In addition to the three winning buildings, 35 Dale Street in the city’s Northern Quarter also received Highly Commended in the Best Refurbished/ Recycled Workplace category. Janet Nash House, Durham and Live Works, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East were recognised as two of the best workplaces in the North.

Winner of Best Commercial Workplace, the BCO judges praised No. 1 Spinningfields as a commercially, environmentally and visually successful building. Located on the edge of the Spinningfields estate, the panel described the building as a varied and flexible space suited to a variety of services, delivered with exceptional quality and a comfortable, light-filled environment – recognised by its high-calibre tenants.

Within the same site, PwC Manchester won the award for Best Fit-out of a Workplace. The BCO judges felt PwC had created a new standard for office fit-out with this project, which has succeeded in injecting energy into the 80-year-old tenant business, removing the traditional offices that isolated partners in previous years. The judges recognised the design had taken inspiration from the spirit of the city, with a nod to the industrial worker-bee, the iconic city skyline, the music scene and passion for art, design and creativity and suggested the design be used as a blueprint for the future.


Best refurbished building

Manchester’s iconic Hanover building, first built around 1905, took home the Best Refurbished/Recycled Workplace award, thanks to its careful restoration and reimagination. The judges noted the project has succeeded in blending the heritage of the site with stunning contemporary design to create 90,000 sq ft of premium office space, fit to be the new home of tech giant Amazon.

35 Dale Street, located in the city’s Northern Quarter, was also awarded Highly Commended in the same category, with judges praising the design’s focus on innovation, creativity and energy.

Durham’s Janet Nash House took home two awards last night, winning both Best Corporate Workplace and the Innovation Award. The judges were impressed by the range and contrast of spaces, specifically designed to suit the needs of each employee. The BCO panel agreed wellbeing had been firmly planted at the root of the design, with enhanced amenities including a café and gymnasium available to all employees. The judges agreed the emphasis on bringing the outside world in had a dramatic effect on the space, with sheltered outdoor seating areas and a carefully curated planting strategy.

Live Works was awarded Best Project up to 1,500m2. The judges were impressed with the project’s transformation of a century old gap in the Quayside into a lively hub for the community. They also noted the economic legacy the development has already left in the area, helping to attract fast-growing SMEs from the digital industry. The BCO panel was also struck by the project’s commitment to its community – it has transformed a listed Almshouse into the ‘Live Tales’, delivered a new public ‘pocket park’ and pledged to use rental income from the new office space to fund at least one play and one education project every year.

Ian Aldous, Director at Arcadis and Chair of BCO Northern Judging Panel, said: “Across the board, entrants demonstrated a forward-thinking approach to office design that has placed occupier benefit at the heart of the process. These projects have delivered multifunctional spaces to ensure occupiers can evolve and they grow. The judging panel was pleased to see a continued emphasis on wellbeing, present across all the projects we saw this year – from living walls to cycle storage and many things in between.”