The Council House, Corporation Street, Derby
Many projects lay claim to be transformational, but the Council House Derby truly is. It would have been far simpler for the Council to relocate entirely to a new development. Instead the decision was made to create a new environment within the exiting locally listed 1930’s brick and steel frame building: this was irrespective of the fact that the challenge would be magnified by the necessary temporary relocation of staff. The two key drivers of creating greater efficiency and new working practises have certainly been achieved. Previously housing 500 employees in a hotch potch of cellular office spaces, the new 1,440 workstations now accommodate 2,000 staff - a shining example of ‘free addressing’.
The building not only satisfies all of the Council’s work space requirements - including an element of flexible use space for times of peak need - it also acts as a meeting place for the general public and as a civic or function venue when required. The sustainability credentials are cutting edge, as is the work space itself. The use of the site and the natural resources available are nothing short of exceptional and the project wholly merits its BREEAM Excellent and EPC A ratings. This is the first scheme that any member of the 2014 BCO national judging panel had ever actually seen that included a hydroelectric power plant, river water cooling, photo-voltaic panels and solar thermal panels.
High levels of user satisfaction and comfort have been achieved through energy efficient lighting and controls, improved building fabric and heat recovery to create an energy efficient environment. The re-use of the building is not overblown but contains some bold elements including the new Council Chamber, which is clearly visible from the public areas within the building. The façade has been retained and roofline maintained but the amount of space on-site has been increased by more than half again. The building is beautifully balanced between old and new. The completed project has been extremely well received by Council employees and is a showcase for potential investors and local authorities from beyond the Midlands that should be fully exploited.