An American architect may end up designing one of the uk’s most high- security operations. Giant practice Gensler is working for one of the four consortia that have been shortlisted to provide a new headquarters for gchq (Government Communications Headquarters) under a pfi bid.
The four consortia are: Aqumen, with bdp as architect; Signal, with Arup Associates as architect; Group 4 Tarmac, which is using Gensler; and Partnership Property Management Consortium, which is working with Terry Farrell. gchq is currently on two sites in Cheltenham, and the purpose of the project is to bring the 5000 staff together either on one of these sites, or on a new site. Current buildings date back to the 1940s, and gchq needs, said a spokesman, ‘something that is it-friendly’.
Estimated cost of the pfi scheme, including construction and 25 years’ running and maintenance of the building, is £150 million to £250 million. A decision on the winning consortium is due in the summer.