The headquarters of the Ministry of Defence’s UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has won the award for best workplace.
The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) National Awards this week awarded the Taunton-based UKHO, which specialises in marine geospatial data to support safe, secure and thriving oceans, with ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Corporate Workplace’ accolades at its online ceremony.
The judges said that the UKHO building is a “unique purpose-built premises” which has delivered “an impressive architectural statement to Taunton and its wider community while providing employees with an excellent workplace for secure collaboration”.
The centrepiece of the building is “an impressive central atrium with generous staircases, connectivity bridges and balconies that provide access and flow, as well as good connection to natural light and ventilation”.
Judges said the space was “high quality, sustainable and transformational”.
The office was joined by six other award-winners recognised as “leading examples of excellence in the office space”. This includes two buildings in London: The Brunel Building on Canalside Walk, and 160 Old Street, refurbished office space at the heart of the Silicon Roundabout.
The full list of winners is:
- ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Corporate Workplace’: UK Hydrographic Office Headquarters, Taunton
- ‘Commercial Workplace’: Brunel Building, 1 & 2 Canalside Walk, London
- ‘Fit Out of Workplace’: BBC Central Square, Cymru Wales
- ‘Refurbished/Recycled Workplace’: 160 Old Street, London
- ‘Projects up to 1,500m2: Couchbase, 1A Tariff Street, Manchester
- ‘Innovation: Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya Building, University of Warwick, Lord Bhattacharyya Way, Coventry
- ‘Test of Time’: Living Planet Centre: WWF-UK Headquarters, Woking
The BCO’s National Awards programme recognises “top quality office design and functionality and sets the standard for excellence across the office sector in the UK”.
The Brunel Building, winner of the ‘Commercial Workplace’ award, is “an engineering masterclass in every way”, said judges.
The building, which faces foundation challenges given it is built atop a Tube line and canal, “integrates smoothly with the surrounding public space, which has been reinvigorated by developers through the introduction of public art and an extensive communal roof terrace”. Judges also noted the “meticulous attention to detail and use of high-quality materials that contribute to the Brunel Building’s sleek industrial aesthetic”.
BBC Central Square’s new home in Cymru Wales won the best ‘Fit Out of Workplace’ award because “the project’s emphasis on people throughout planning and execution was at the heart of its success” and judges noted it was “an impeccable example of form following function, with the blend of robust practicality and confident aesthetic evident in every detail”.
Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the BCO, said “even during uncertainty, our industry continues to grow and produce exceptional work, and the future continues to look bright”.