WHY THIS CITY COUNCIL HOUSE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST OFFICE SPACES IN BRITAIN

WHY THIS CITY COUNCIL HOUSE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST OFFICE SPACES IN BRITAIN

WHY THIS CITY COUNCIL HOUSE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST OFFICE SPACES IN BRITAINWHY THIS CITY COUNCIL HOUSE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST OFFICE SPACES IN BRITAIN

When the Derby City Council decided to refurbish their offices, they didn’t stop at making them bigger and better: they also made them greener.

Since BAM Construction finished the £35 million refurbishments of Derby’s City Council House two and a half years ago, City Council members and Derby residents alike have had the benefit of an open plan, naturally lit new space that can accommodate almost four times as many people as the old facility.

Even more impressively, the building takes advantage of its location on the banks of the River Derwent to achieve the highest possible environmental sustainability rating. Features such as adiabatic cooling, rainwater harvesting, solar panels and hydroelectric power harnessed from the river itself all earn the Council House an “A+” Energy Performance Certificate and a BREEAM classification of “Excellent”.

Scroll for more photos and our Q+A with the designers.

What is the most unique feature about the new space?

The Council chamber is the most unique feature; it’s centrally located so that it can be seen from most parts of the building. The original chamber was hidden away and difficult to find. As the chamber is a key part of the way in which the Council work we wanted it to be visible, it also means that it has become a meeting space and far more flexible than the previous space.

The chamber is clad in timber which conceals an acoustic wall to help reduce the sound in the atrium space and creates a dynamic route for people crossing the building.

What was the hardest aspect of change for people in moving from the former space?

As part of the planning process for this project, the project team invested a lot of time in meeting other organization that had underwent similar levels of cross-directorate, large scale change. We wanted to use the lessons learnt by those who had experienced various levels of success.

The key message that came out was about designing a sensitive and informative communications strategy that could envelop a clear journey of change and how this affected both the business and the individual. As part of the Derby Workstyle project the team engaged with relevant stakeholders from the beginning of the journey onward. The project team painted a realistic picture of what the future would look like and they managed expectations carefully. Copied from work design magazine.

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