A new building initiated on a speculative basis for commercial letting including buildings that are substantially pre-let or sold on to an occupier. In this category only the base build is judged.




Given the economic climate in which commercial buildings would have commenced in order to qualify for this year, it is understandable that those that stood out were individual in their own right and were targeted at a slightly different “non-traditional” area of the market: Legal & General Property and Mitsubishi Estate Company’s Central Saint Giles is an outstanding success in this respect. 

Central Saint Giles set out to be more than “just” an office building; the office space is clearly the main value driver but is part of a mixed use complex which includes both market and affordable residential accommodation and ground floor restaurants. This mix on its own was deemed not enough and what is really noteworthy about this 64,000m² development is the attempt to open up a number of routes through and across the site, in a way which has already transformed the surrounding area.  

The developers took a bold step in completely reinventing a moribund part of the city, and the boldest step was probably choosing Renzo Piano as the main architect – along with Fletcher Priest - and then allowing him free rein to work his magic. The resultant creation of a truly cosmopolitan new space for London clearly demonstrates the empathy between developers and the architects and a realisation that success could only be achieved by doing something truly remarkable. This is apparent in the distinctive approach to the use of colour which can only have resulted from a deep sense of mutual trust and respect; love it or hate it, it certainly stands out.

Previously an MOD fortress, the site has been transformed from what was in effect a giant “no go” roundabout, into a destination in its own right, by bringing the ground floor plane alive and allowing the public to criss-cross throughout.

The first aspect of the office building itself to impress, is the stunning full length double height reception area, which has been created as a social space in its own right, and is fully open to the new piazza outside and the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden opposite. The office space is tall, light and airy and the use of corner winter gardens and ‘cuts’ in the façade allows for individual spaces to be created, in what would otherwise be deep plan and large floor space. The fact that the building is now fully let is a testament to the adaptability and attractiveness of the floor space

Central Saint Giles demonstrates the fact that to create a new destination and reinvigorate values in what might have been ‘off-pitch’ locations, it is essential to do something transformational. This has been achieved by opening up the whole of the ground floor (including the office entrance space itself) to invite the public in and through the complex, and is a trend which Central Saint Giles continues in the vein of previous BCO Best of the Best winners.





G1 Glasgow is a project where a developer really did risk all to achieve a two-fold objective: to save a vital piece of Glasgow’s Victorian heritage, re-energising its most important square, and to create Glasgow’s highest quality office space.

Having lain derelict for years and acquired by HF Developments near the height of the boom, the challenges in rejuvenating this former post office building were enormous. One of the most ambitious façade retention schemes in Scotland was required to enable the marriage of as near as possible BCO compliant new build office structure to an ornate, imposing and, in places, crumbling Victorian façade - at a viable development cost.

Working closely with the city planners and Historic Scotland, the development team were also able to push the envelope (literally) to create a new beacon on George Square - a vaulted semi-glazed structure housing a further 3 storeys. Along with the re-construction of the original stone balustrade, statuary and urns already set a storey higher. On the façade, former sash & case were replicated as double glazed tilt and turn. Above the first floor, deep plan floor plates were matched into window heights, without resorting to an internal skin, largely avoiding the disorientating detachment for occupiers.

The developer’s long term commitment to the site has enabled a more proprietorial view to be taken on development decisions and with the likes of Ernst & Young upstairs and Jamie’s Italian in the basement, G1 Glasgow will surely become a prime example of urban regeneration.




The Hive is an important building which is recognised as key to Manchester’s regeneration strategy by being at the heart of the City’s up and coming Northern Quarter and playing a role in acting as a catalyst for further investment in the area.  

With a pre-let in place to the Arts Council England, the developer Argent Group took the opportunity to create a community for creative organisations to dwell, cross pollinate and grow in a brand new building accommodating, not only offices, but retail, workshops and a cafe.  

The 8,000m² building, designed by the Manchester office of HKR Architects, is in the form of two parallel blocks with an arcade between them increasing the pedestrian permeability of the scheme as well as creating additional active frontage to the ground floor unit. The arcade also benefits the office floors above by allowing a natural ventilation strategy reducing the planned depth and increasing the daylight penetration.  

The Hive is a product of innovation, demonstrating the ability to invest in vital regeneration with a building of high quality detail and design, with excellent green credentials and natural ventilation.  

Significantly, The Hive has proved that speculative commercial developments, when done properly, can still work even in the most difficult of markets. The vision and determination shown by the developer and the local authority will go a long way to ensure that the regeneration of the Northern Quarter will continue despite economic downturn.




Alder King

Castlemore- the original developer for this Bristol city centre project - PricewaterhouseCoopers subsequently assumed responsibility - displayed rationale as to what was required from the building and the original strategic master plan brief was very well conceived. It was obvious that this allowed the base build offer to be easily modified to meet the needs of the end user, law firm, Burges Salmon, its bespoke fit out.

The architecture firm Stride Treglown, designed the increased storey height of the ground floor to provide interesting and diverse space, accommodating high occupancy, social uses and future flexibility. The external cladding system is very well conceived and dealt simply with the unusual building plan shape and the buildings’ relationship with the curve of Bristol’s River Avon, from the banks of which it looks out onto.

The judges were particularly pleased to see that One Glass Wharf had made innovative use of the waters of the Avon for rejecting heat from the building cooling plant and that the designers had employed magnetic levitation compressors to further increase energy efficiency. The quality of the building was very high and the finishes employed were certainly at a level to meet higher life expectancy.

Overall the judges were pleased to see such a high quality office building being developed in an area of urban regeneration and very close to public transport nodes and Bristol Temple Meads Station. One Glass Wharf integrates very well into the new harbourside public realm within which the development sits.




Former track and field Olympic gold medallist, Lord Sebastian Coe and potential future medal winning Olympian, Tom Daley, opened SportPark owned by Loughborough University. The building this prominent duo presented, delivers a superb gateway building to the University’s Science and Enterprise Park, providing good quality offices to a number of the country's top sports governing bodies and national sports organisations at Lord Coe’s alma mater. Tenants include the Youth Sport Trust, ASA, British Swimming, and the English Federation for Disability Sport. The building was part of Sport England’s ‘modernisation’ initiative to update its perception and operation.

The David Morley Architects designed building is a brand new concept in integrated sports working which Sean Holt, chief executive at the Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity said, "This is an important milestone in sport management modernisation. SportPark is a state of the art facility that will play a key role in helping us to change the perception of IMSPA”.  

By the building facilitating the ability to have so many related bodies under one roof will encourage the sharing of resources, exchange of ideas and knowledge enhancement of the sector's needs and requirements. This synchronicity is enhanced by being set within the campus of one of the world’s foremost providers of sport education.

The building uses natural ventilation and ground source heat pumps and achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Award. The design concept of a winged development provides disparate offices which are physically and symbolically linked by a concourse providing meeting points, breakout areas and catering facilities. From a market perspective this iconic building has been a great success in attracting the tenants which it was aimed at from the outset and is an overall great addition to the University.