English Council Office Building, Civic Architecture, Architect, Yorkshire Authority
Doncaster Civic Office, England
Office Building in Doncaster, UK – design by Cartwright Pickard Architects
30 Apr 2014
Doncaster Civic Office
Design: Cartwright Pickard Architects
Doncaster Council’s new Civic Offices assist the Council to rationalise their estate, bringing many departments together under one roof in a purpose-built, low energy building. Cartwright Pickard Architects worked alongside Muse Developments and Wates Construction to deliver this new BREEAM Excellent workplace for up to 1,600 staff.
The landmark building sits at the heart of the Authority’s £300m, 25-acre Civic and Cultural Quarter regeneration scheme. Built for £1,300/m2 including Category A and B fit out work, the 14,632m2 building includes flexible office space, a state-of-the-art Council Chamber and a One-Stop-Shop of frontline council services. A ‘spend to save’ development, it is set to reduce the Authority’s operational costs by an estimated £650,000 per year.
The contemporary five-storey building is designed around a central atrium which brings in natural light, connects spaces together, and provides passive ventilation. The highly efficient plan increases the net-to-gross floor area to 86%. Adaptability of space is fundamental, ensuring easy modification to suit future generations’ working practices.
The ground floor of the building provides public service facilities, including the One-Stop-Shop, plus support facilities for the building, whilst upper floors provide office space for staff. The One-Stop-Shop and Council Chamber are located at the front of the building, overlooking the new square and allowing passers-by to observe democracy in action.
Office floor plates have been designed to incorporate an open plan formation which facilitates flexible sub-division of office space, allowing for open plan desk arrangements, maximising the usable life of the building and reducing the overall running costs for the Council. The use of quality building materials was a necessity, whilst promoting sustainability and low-energy principles.
The council chamber façade is clad with an abstract pattern of coloured, glazed terracotta baguettes. Nearly 3,200 tiles in 12 different colours have been installed, creating a focal point and a unique identity. Terracotta’s longevity and sustainability make it an ideal choice for the building, manufactured from natural robust materials, it is low maintenance and extremely weatherproof.
A high-quality concrete structural frame has been left exposed inside the building, providing thermal mass, fire and acoustic benefits to the scheme. The finish avoids the need to plasterboard, saving on even more costs. Timber panelling has been used to create a warm visual contrast to the concrete and also acts as an acoustic absorber soaking up any noise generated in the atrium.
The scheme takes a holistic view of sustainable design, integrating environmental, structural and architectural elements to create a low energy solution, achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Passive, rather than active measures have been utilised to ensure lower running costs and significantly less maintenance. It is expected that these measures will achieve huge savings for the council. The central atrium maximises natural ventilation throughout the building, significantly reducing airhandling. Via the elevations, the atrium also maximises natural daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
The use of a green roof enables sustainable drainage and provides a natural habitat for wildlife. Rainwater harvesting will enable the re-use of any unabsorbed water for WC flushing. A selection of materials were chosen
from the BRE Green Guide, minimising environmental impact.
Staircases, M&E plant and vertical service risers were prefabricated offsite and craned into place, reducing the overall cost and programme time, whilst improving the quality of these components.
With construction costs within budget, the new civic offices are without doubt a ‘model of modesty’, maintaining the highest quality finishes whilst ensuring that the Council’s operational costs remain streamlined beyond project completion.
Doncaster Civic Office – Building Information
Client: Muse Developments
Contractor: Wates Construction
Architect: Cartwright Pickard Architects
Structural, Services, M&E and Fire
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon
Landscape Architect: Grontmij
Acoustic Engineer: AEC
End User: Doncaster Council
Contract value: £20,000,000
Construction cost/m2 including Cat A & Cat B fit out: £1,300
Architects’ appointment: Design and construct, novated to the contractor
Photographs: Hundven Clements Photography
Doncaster Civic Office images / information from Cartwright Pickard Architects