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42 PROJECT REPORT: COMMERCIAL & WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENTS


© Daniel Hopkinson


Interiors have expanses of exposed concrete, with this feature being


particularly effective in the reception area


centre of the plan are darker, and better suited for the more intimate meeting functions that occupy them. Around the perimeter are either cellular or open plan (single or cross-ventilated) rooms. Doody says: “the plan works to really good principles we were using in the 1990s, that have been forgotten about. Making sure the building is really well shaded, windows are in the right place. The industry has developed a fashion for putting floor to ceiling windows in; the bottom part effectively lights the space below your waist level.” We are just trying to do a really simple, pared-back version of what architects like Arup had mastered, an office where services, structure and facades are all co- ordinated and work in tandem.” The designers created bands of horizontal windows for the office spaces with panoramic views to the city and its iconic steel Victorian landmarks. There is a further high level band of glazing (also with opening vents) to bring daylighting deep into spaces. The building has 40 per cent


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glazing, “which is where we want to be in terms of heat loss and heat gains,” with horizontal bands of brise soleil cladding over the thermally broken curtain walls. By contrast the windows into the less sunlit landscaped courtyard are floor to ceiling, helping connect the offices to this space.


Light industrial


The exterior is highly functional but at the same time refers directly to the robust steel heritage of the area. A striking heavy, dark painted diagrid of girders forms the front facade, forming a double-height colonnade to the entrance, and bracing “what is otherwise an unbraced steel structure,” says Doody. The shear forces of the four, concrete-floored storeys are taken at the back of the building by the core, as well as the girder bracing. While echoing the Wearmouth Bridge visually, the latter also enables the “very lean” structure to work. The two-storey entrance includes a set back lettable mezzanine area, either side of the entrance, allowing potential food and beverage tenants at a later date. The


ADF JUNE 2021


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