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FIRST LOOK 

Sheppard Robson designs stepped office hub with civic ‘town hall’ centre

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The anodised aluminium workplace, designed for troubled construction firm Interserve, creates an ‘object’ building designed to help seed regeneration to the east of Birmingham

In collaboration with interior design group ID:SR, Sheppard Robson has designed the construction firm’s new 12,000m² offices. The building consolidates four of the company’s satellite offices into one base.

Sitting adjacent to the planned HS2 line and Birmingham Airport in an industrialised area of the city, the building has been designed to provide a focus for the proposed regeneration of the wider site. The undulating and stepped façade is intended to provide a marker for change in the area, yet remain anchored to its surroundings through a ground-floor podium and careful landscaping.

The offices are centred around a large open, central space, triangular in plan, that aims to reduce the mass of the structure. Circulation is routed around the edge of the building, encouraging interaction and promoting walking. 

Interserve hub credit to jack hobhouse (8)

Interserve hub credit to jack hobhouse (8)

The interior is organised over four levels, all similar in size, which step out around the atrium. Each floorplan has been varied to provide a range of working environments – the perimeter is intended for more focused tasks, and informal meeting spaces line the central space. The series of stepped terraces are designed to animate the central atrium.

The building has been rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’, with the two main agendas for the project being environmental performance and passive sustainability – revolving around calibrated measures such as its self-shading form, interactivity and consolidation of office space.

Architect’s view

The building has been designed to have strikingly different characters. From the outside, it is a robust and a distinctive marker for change, while internally the civic ’town hall’ at the centre of the building is a moment of drama that speaks of a more integrated, connected business.

David Ardill, partner, Sheppard Robson

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

Project data  

Start on site February 2016
Completion Summer 2018
Gross internal floor area 12,460m²
Form of contract or procurement route JCT Design and Build
Construction cost £47.4 million (including CAT A and CAT B)
Construction cost per m2 £3,280
Architect Sheppard Robson
Client Interserve Construction
MEP and structural engineer (pre-contract) Arup
Principal designer Interserve Consulting
Services engineer Interserve Engineering Service
Contractor Interserve Construction
Estimated annual CO2 emissions 101.35kg/m² 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Drawing inspiration, perhaps, from both John Madin's late lamented Birmingham Central Library and Foreign Office Architects' new concourse for Birmingham New Street railway station.

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