Architects' Office

This new office building, by BDP for themselves, is in the heart of Piccadilly Basin, a development site brought forward by Town Centre Securities and masterplanned by Ian Simpson Associates. The challenge here was to create a building that was inspirational to employees and clients and was aligned with the design principles of the practice. Ultimately the building will be rented from TCS and as such must also meet their demands for flexibility should it be returned to the open market. Much of the experience of the commercial team at BDP was brought to bear on the solution and one item that had reduced costs and become something of a speciality was the use of exposed concrete. The soffits were cast to allow recessed linear light tracks and a massive timber shuttered feature wall plunges from the reception down into the basement. The southern façade runs along Ducey Street and is clad in standing-seam stainless steel variously punctured with tiny apertures that are windows or vents. This shining wall wraps over the building to form the roof in one continuous protective gesture. The northern façade faces the canal basin itself and is almost entirely glazed to allow as much even daylight into the studios as possible. The finished floor level of the basement is below canal level, the main staircase cantilevers dramatically over the canal and the steel wall tapers outward as it ascends; these formal moves have maximised space on a difficult site. The canal had to be kept at bay with a perimeter wall of sheet piles and continuously pumped during construction. The building neatly aligns itself with the apparent mantra of the firm as it now exists, this method would appear to be one that embraces a unique investigative approach to each scheme and marries this with a humane and ecological approach to design. Recent completions at Piccadilly Station, Aintree Racecourse and Greengates, Salford are aesthetically diverse but clearly governed by a common cause.