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PROJECT REPORT: COMMERCIAL & WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENTS


39


© Daniel Hopkinson


Elements of the building like curtain walling and windows had been constructed offsite, and were sat in various yards waiting to be transported to site, not having been paid for. The project team therefore had a job to do in working out the full supply chain and reacquiring the elements needed.


UrbEd did the masterplan for the Design & Build project, in collaboration with the architects, who undertook plot testing to ensure they were sized properly in relation to the brief. Since practical completion in mid 2019, the project has been subsumed into a wider urban masterplan being prepared by different architects – Sunderland Riverside. This includes housing and further development of the former brewery site, including a major council building by FaulknerBrowns. The Beam now finds itself the flagship project of this major regeneration. It was designed to be a “non- conventional offer” to commercial clients, combining a healthy and appealing environment with strong sustainability credentials within an attractive building that related to the city. In terms of


ADF JUNE 2021


providing a “healthy” office, the focus would be on linking to external spaces, and natural ventilation plus a shallow plan, and good daylighting. Interestingly, the building that they initially drew for the bid with Igloo was “completely different, on a different site, so we were effectively starting from scratch,” once the Siglion team gave them the final brief.


A building for Sunderland The project team wanted the community to buy into the building, and “feel they owned it,” says Doody, responding to the client’s brief of a building that “belonged to Sunderland.” The previous modern building on the site that The Beam replaced wasn’t popular locally, and there was mistrust of new development. As a result, the team “really wanted this building to resonate with the site, and with the city.” The town being rich with industrial heritage meant that this factor remains important for locals, and was something the architects were keen to honour. “We love the big, structural heritage, and the brewery’s history; it has quite an emotional


© Daniel Hopkinson


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