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24 VIEWS


Tenant demands Working for the tenant – who was also the architect and, unsurprisingly, very focused on the quality of their working environment – also proved demanding, particularly in regard to cost control. While we went through all the standard procedures during the tenant fit-out, such as space planning to meeting facilities, IT needs to coffee cups, the quality of break out spaces, the finishes in the toilets (always a big issue!), the operation of the plant and the ease of maintenance, we also wanted the new offices to be a showcase for the business and for people to be wowed when they came and visited us – but of course everything costs money and we had to attempt to stick to our budget. For me, this offered up some really interesting perspectives on the design process. When we’re employed solely as architects, we could be working for either the developer or the tenant. The developer will commit us to a certain budget, but the developer is rarely going to be the occupier of the finished building. The tenant, on the other hand, is always going to want to specify certain things that the developer


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doesn’t want to pay for (and the tenant doesn’t want to pay for either). Therefore you need to take both sides into careful consideration and budget accordingly.


Architectural innovation Perhaps our biggest challenge as the architect on the project was agreeing the design in the first place given the number of architects involved! Nonetheless, acting as a developer willing to explore different possibilities, our architects were allowed to have a little more freedom than would normally be expected and led to some exciting design innovation. In our first-floor studio, for instance, we have a vaulted ceiling that’s given us a fantastic space in which to work and is not the kind of space you would normally find in a speculative office development. It is an inspirational place for our employees, clients and visitors, reflecting both our business values and our vision of the future. Ultimately, the experience has been invigorating and exciting. We have designed and delivered an inspirational place for our employees, clients and visitors, reflecting both our business values and our vision of


As architects it has given us a much better understanding of the needs of developers, of contractors and of tenants


the future. As architects it has given us a much better understanding of the needs of developers, of contractors and of tenants. The need of the architects to make a profit on this project was probably one thing that was not given enough consideration.


Michael Barker is senior partner at Stephen George + Partners


ADF APRIL 2019


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