The idea of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent years. No longer just a physical setting, done right, the workplace can contribute to enhanced employee health and wellbeing, create a sense of community and improve pride in a place of work.
I was tasked to photograph the new International Quarter London building, which is a joint venture between Lendlease and LCR, designed specifically as the new headquarters for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Sitting within a 22 acre site that connects seamlessly to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the emerging Cultural and Education District, IQL is in the heart of Stratford. Combining workplace design expertise, Stratford’s green open spaces and outstanding transport connectivity, FCA staff will also have access to a range of facilities including an onsite gym, large roof terrace and 200-seat auditorium.
The new building was designed by world-acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, to emulate the very latest thinking behind progressive ways of working. With the health and wellbeing of its occupants at the very forefront, it boasts stunning views of the City of London, as well as innovative design features. A key feature of the building is the atrium which has been designed as an open working environment. There are different work settings within the atrium for people to either work together or on their own.
The building has achieved the highest environmental rating for materials used. Innovative Closed Cavity Facade cladding monitors the position of the sun and adjusts the blinds accordingly, working with multi-service chilled beams to keep temperatures comfortable in the building without compromising on maximising natural light for its occupants from the floor to ceiling windows. 100% fresh air is circulated throughout the building, forming a healthy and stimulating environment to work in.
Around 6,300 employees are now established at IQL with the FCA and Unicef moving their headquarters to the development over the summer. They join TfL who moved to their new building, 5 Endeavour Square, in September 2017. Construction of the third commercial building is in progress, with space there pre-let to Cancer Research UK and British Council. Together they shall bring around 2,400 further staff to IQL when they move in late 2019 and early 2020 respectively.
I recently photographed The Minster Building in London, which is the latest financial district property to be transformed. It now offers a rejuvenated, premier environment showcasing Grade A facilities, as well as nurturing a much sought-after work/life balance.
Originally built in 1992 to designs by GMW Partnership, The Minster Building has an incredibly striking pink marble neo-gothic façade. BuckleyGrayYeoman are behind the recent redevelopment, as commissioned by Greycoat Real Estate and Ivanhoe Cambridge, which involved shifting the original entrance on the corner of Mincing Lane and Great Tower Street.
A new 30 metre long boulevard leads directly to the reception where there was once the longest run of escalators in Europe. These have now been removed and replaced with an eight-storey central atrium, around which the offices are arranged. The new atrium sets the tone and material palette for the rest of the development, with curved glazing, textured jesmonite panels, marble and bronze combining to create an opulent, airy and uplifting ambiance.
It is not often my brief includes the suggestion to look up and listen, but it is understandable when entering the space. Throughout the entrance and reception, the walls are hand-finished in nearly 2,000m2 of Armourcoat’s polished plaster together with over 600m2 of the company’s Acoustic Plaster System applied to the ceilings. Designed to optimize the acoustics of interior spaces, the Acoustic Plaster system offers an elegant marble based plaster finish while allowing sound energy to pass through the surface. The zero VOC system, which consists of 80% recycled material, achieves class '0' fire rating and a class 'A' Noise Reduction Coefficient rating.
The Minster Building has already attracted some cool new tenants that include The Third Space, which will open its first luxury health club in the square mile, a Crussh juice bar to be near the reception, and Brewdog, whose space will feature a 10 hectolitre brewing facility.
My photographs were featured in the April edition of FX Magazine. The four page article showcases the London offices designed by CallisonRTKL for a large global tech company. The design consultancy aimed to transform the client’s three floors into a modern, flexible space that would reflect the cutting-edge nature of the client’s brand.
From the outset, CallisonRTKL wanted to create a journey, both for visitors and employees. As well as building workstations and creating breakout areas to allow for flexible working and encourage collaboration, the designers’ brief was to create a meeting space for the client’s sales team and visiting customers.
The fifth floor is dedicated to the new visitor centre, for both new and existing customers. With a red wall and light strips, the reception desk makes a high-impact first impression. The ‘lines of light’ are a key part of the design concept, being a three dimensional manifestation of the human and digital connections of the business. Adjacent to the reception is a waiting area with various types of seating, a new customer lounge and focus rooms.
The open area connects with the main meeting suite via timber links on both sides, while the dynamic lines of light highlight the route through the corridors. There is an emphasis on connectivity of systems, data, people, physical areas, knowledge sharing and collaboration. Some 22 meeting rooms are placed at angles from each other to avoid long, narrow corridors, reduce acoustic reverberation and assist way-finding through tonal coding of floor and wall finishes
The LED dali lighting system is fully dimmable, and lighting and daylighting are linked along with the external blinds and controls. Dedicated perimeter lighting control zones enable full daylight linking. Meeting rooms and offices are fitted with in-room temperature control systems. The fifth floor meeting suite has a multi-channel, wall mounted, scene-setting light to tune the environment to a range of scenarios.
One of the core ideas was to “bring nature in”, to balance the digital and virtual worlds with people, and humanise the space. This was interpreted throughout with the use of organic patterns, materials and finishes.
See the full article at FX Magazine
For more information go to CallisonRTKL