The Roche Head Office swept the board by winning three major awards at last night's BCO (British Council of Offices) Awards Dinner, in London. Building Design Partnership won Best Regional Corporate Office Building, Best National Corporate Office Building and the Best of the Best. This repeats last year's achievement by BDP when the BBC Mailbox Project won the same three awards. The BCO Awards provide public recognition for top quality design and functionality and a benchmark for excellence in office space.
BDP Director Chris Langston said "To win one BCO Award is highly significant, to win three on one night is a massive achievement, but to do so for two successive years is unprecedented."
"The Roche project has been remarkable in many ways, as well as being a fine piece of design and execution it has also been an excellent example of a team working culture which was engendered by Roche, and to which BDP's interdisciplinary team provided an exact fit. It is also a huge endorsement of the truly exceptional people and skills found within the whole project team."
Leading Healthcare giant Roche grasped the opportunity to revolutionise the way they worked when it centralised from a number of disparate buildings under one roof in Welwyn Garden City. The outcome was not just a platform for 21st century efficiency but an outstandingly elegant, dramatic and environmentally friendly building.
The jury commented "At first it appears as just another unassuming low-rise addition to Shire Business Park, yet the sense of drama rises via a long ramp past water features to a spectacular double height entrance……Surprises continue inside, with massive 90m-long floors enabling whole departments to be ranged across a single level."
Natural daylight is an important part of this development and the clever use of oval-shaped ceiling openings in the roof allow light to flood in to an internal day-lit street, producing a seamless continuity between outer and inner worlds, and leaves no individual more than 7.5m from natural light.
The jury continued "Floors float off open shallow-pitched stairs. Glazed meeting rooms line one side of the street, their transparency emphasising the open atmosphere demanded by Roche. Extensive timber cladding, windows and fittings add to the air of calm informality that stretches throughout the building."
Sustainability issues were thoughtfully integrated from the outset and range from site orientation, which maximises control, to one of Europe's largest ground water cooling systems reducing energy load by 7.5%, and zero emission, ammonia chillers. The building achieved a 10 out of 10 BREEAM Excellent rating and complied with the new Part L requirements two years before the need to do so.
BDP delivered the building ahead of time and the client was also able to build an additional pharmacology building on the site without going over the original main budget.
The final citation reads "Roche asked for quality without ostentation to attract and hold the best staff and this is what designer BDP has delivered. It has left the company delighted and thrilled with the finished product."
BDP was appointed as architect, structural and environmental engineer, interior designer, landscape architect, lighting, acoustic and sustainability consultant. QS was Clarus Consulting and construction manager was PCM.