12 months on, has SGP’s new Leicester office delivered?
It was a big opportunity – the chance to design a whole new office from the ground up. But 12 months on – what’s the verdict now SGP’s staff have been working in their new space for a year?
Having occupied premises in Leicester city centre for nearly 50 years, SGP seized the opportunity to acquire a site at Grove Park, Enderby, and design and build our own offices. So Waterfront House began. But the move to the new, purpose designed, workspace carried a weight of expectations.
Moving away from silo working, a greater exchange of ideas, more flexible working and striking a balance between being efficient, having job satisfaction and keeping the fun…all in a beautiful, green setting.
A truly impressive building with a work environment conducive to mixed skills and joined up thinking. Sue Hastings
We are incredibly proud of the finished office. The building itself is a minimalist “soft-modern” design that uses various architectural techniques to create a strikingly bold yet simple effect, with clean frontage and lines. Our determination to incorporate the latest sustainable technologies was also a big driver and we were able to include solar panels, water-based heating and cooling which substantially reduce harmful chemicals often used in HVAC systems, and wooden louvred brise-soleils which reduce the amount of sun falling on the large windows, lowering solar gain and the associated cooling load.
Internally, the first floor design studio has floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the beautiful setting overlooking the lake.
The light and airy open plan office aims to promote a sense of community and collaboration, but we’ve included more private nooks for quiet conversations or thinking. On the ground floor, there are meeting rooms and a welcoming café that opens on to a lakeside terrace, where the whole team – and clients – can meet and relax together.
One unique feature of the design and build process was our own role – or actually roles. We wore “four hats” – as architect; working for a developer; being novated to the contractor, and making sure the occupier gets what is needed to achieve SGP’s vision for our business.
The process had many challenges. Not least of these was agreeing the design in the first place, given the number of architects involved! But the initial feedback has been, on the whole, positive, with benefits including:
· Scenic views and surroundings
· Open space canteen area giving the opportunity to mix
· An environment that facilitates collaborative working
· A flexible space that can change and evolve as the business grows
It’s not only the staff who’ve felt the need to comment, visitors from a local design group were also impressed:
The attention to every design detail of the building was very appealing indeed and it is an excellent showcase for the cutting edge skills of the practice. Alison and Richard Thumpston
We’ll leave the final word to Liam Mottishaw, Architectural Assistant:
The new office has improved my productivity and helped me to develop my knowledge in a better way. The open plan environment has helped immeasurably and in my opinion has improved the quality of life in the company. My confidence has grown, by being around the entire company in one room, and knowledge sharing has improved greatly. It is much easier to find information and ask questions with everyone sharing the same space. Socially it has also helped.
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