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Wakefield One by Cartwright Pickard Architects

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Occupying a prominent position in Wakefield, Cartwright Pickard’s Wakefield One uses a small palette of robust materials

The architect’s view

Wakefield One represents the future of socially responsible public buildings. The scheme combines a diverse programme of uses into a new model for value-focused civic architecture, encompassing a museum, café, library, one-stop-shop and civic offices. The building occupies a prominent position in Wakefield,
next to the Grade-I listed County Hall.

Its simple, rectilinear form, together with the selection of a small palette of robust materials and the adept utilisation of a standardised pre-fabricated ‘kit of parts’ have all contributed towards the lean design. The entire project takes a holistic view of sustainable design so that structural, environmental and architectural elements all contribute to its achieving an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM low-energy rating.

Colour at Wakefield One plays an important part both internally and externally. The deep reveals to the windows are clad in richly coloured glazed terracotta tiles, which complement the warm, natural colours of the main elevations. These colours were inspired by those used in the stained glass windows at County Hall, providing a subtle reference to its historic neighbour.

Wakefield One manages to save costs but still promotes its own distinctive brand of design quality, realised by streamlined simplicity and measured restraint.

  • Andrew May, project director, Cartwright Pickard Architects

Project data

Start on site August 2010
Completion January 2012
Gross internal floor area 14,063m²
Procurement Design and construct, novated to the contractor
Construction cost £15 million
Construction cost per m² £1,022
Architect Cartwright Pickard Architects
Client Muse Developments/English Cities Fund
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Quantity surveyor/CDM coordinator Gleeds
Acoustic engineer AEC
Landscape architect Estell Warren
Access consultant Qequality
Project manager Ward Robinson
Building inspector Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
Main contractor Morgan Sindall Construction
CAD software used MicroStation
Annual CO2 emissions 25.83kg/m²

Specified products

Terracotta cladding

Bespoke units, 200 x 1500mm (approx), natural and glazed finishes



Timber/aluminium curtain walling system; 160mm timber mullion with clear coat lacquer finish and special T-bar shaped capping, anodised finish


Chilled beam rafts

Passive chilled beam integrated service modules, mesh samples: 8063 PERF, 1820 PERF



Schindler 5300 MRL passenger lift, glazed back wall with stainless steel to other walls, terrazzo floor finish (from atrium)


External paving

La Linia textured paving, light granite and Indian granite


Atrium flooring

Duracryl terrazo system, bespoke colour incorporating recycled glass crystals

Staircase carpet

Milliken Essentials Laylines, colour ref 5161 Nstd


Bronze anodising

Anolok 547


Mineral paint

Ecosil ME, White obliterative paint RAL 9010 to horizontal surfaces, Concretal Lasur CL018, two-coat system to vertical surfaces


Green washroom finish to IPS

Johnsons Wellfield, Crosland Hill Hard Yorkstone, Diamond Sawn Finish



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