There is just over a month to go before the 2015 entries for the BCO Awards closes. The awards stand to recognise excellence in office design and have become a milestone in recognition for high quality design and innovation all over the country. We have broken down some of the key points the BCO look for in an award winning project and how this years winners fit the bill.
Sustainability: Nothing shouts sustainable project louder then a BREEAM, LEED, SKA or EPC certification. 2014 winners of the Refurbished/Sustainability workplace award, Derby Council House boasts a BREEAM Excellent award for a hydroelectric power plant, river water cooling, photo-voltaic panels and solar thermal panels. Other measures include energy efficient lighting and controls and improved building fabric and heat recovery to create an energy efficient environment. These do not only count towards a sustainable building, but a satisfied workforce. Aiming for Eco-friendly measures and sustainable practise is vital, but if the measures also make for a more pleasant working environment, you will have ticked all the boxes.
Space planning: Achieving an attractive office, but being faced by limitations such as poor light are the things space planning and design address. The winner for the Fit Out workplace Award, Arthur J Gallagher housed in the Walbrook Building in London presents how well this can be done. Large floor spaces but a great depth internally meant natural lighting wouldn’t penetrate through into the buildings ground floor. The answer was a creatively designed meeting room in an unconventional form. On the main trading floor, space planning was utilised to optimise the large density of workers with an unconventional floor layout where all the desks are seen to be forming a spiralling-out from the centre.
Transforming the way the occupants work on a daily basis: Recognising the importance of using a space for all its occupiers, the winner for the Innovation Award, The Sharp Project in Manchester presents a key example as to why it is import a to get this right. Previously a large warehouse, the large abandoned space has been transformed to house 54 film, TV, music and design companies. Each workplace is highly flexible and adaptable by its occupants, with the interior spaces combined in the form of a small town. Spaces have been utilised to stimulate and encourage meeting opportunities and interactions between companies and all the creatives housed here.
Life time of the building: It is the most valued aspect of a building recognised by the BCO if a building is able to benefit the occupants over a long period of time. Managing and adapting to trends and lifetime cost savings that prove the quality of the design and build of a project really shine. They are looking for a high-quality project, as winners the Guardian Media Group proved for their Kings Place headquarters. The spaces work well at integrating new digital technologies alongside traditional press and media practises. The modest design and high quality of interiors allowed the building to develop along with evolving market conditions and ever changing market meeds. This project highlights how important it is to get out of a comfort zone and consider longer term needs through simple yet innovative models.
If you feel you have a project that may be eligible for a BCO Award, the 2015 entries close on the 28th November 2014. Good Luck!