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Working with the Presidential Team, Richard Kauntze has held the position for close to 25 successful years, guiding the BCO through transformative growth and evolution

After soon-to-be 25 years of serving as Chief Executive for the British Council for Offices, Richard Kauntze will be stepping down in summer 2025. His successor will be appointed by the BCO Presidential Team in due course.

During Mr Kauntze’s tenure, the BCO has grown in membership and become established firmly as the office sector’s source of education, guidance and discussion. Since Mr Kauntze joined as Chief Executive in 1999, membership has increased from 585 to over 4,000, spanning a range of disciplines from leading architects and developers to major office occupiers.

Mr Kauntze has also worked hard to increase the BCO’s geographical reach, expanding from its initial base in Reading to a strong national presence across regions with a London headquarters.

The BCO NextGen programme has advanced over the past decade, with 25% of the BCO’s total membership now comprising of NextGen members – members aged 35 and under – demonstrating that the BCO is shored-up for the future. Mr Kauntze was instrumental in the creation of the NextGen Committees, which provide a platform for knowledge-sharing, mentoring, networking and professional development across five regions.

The NextGen ideas competition was launched in 2017 and has evolved into the BCO NextGen Ideas Project celebrating the boldest, most innovative and creative ideas for the future workspace of the next generation. The programme aims to encourage the NextGen’s confidence, expand their network and help them advance in their career.

The BCO Awards programme has developed and expanded to recognise new priorities and innovation within the sector, such as the ESG Award introduced in 2023. A new occupier award is being developed by the BCO, to highlight the highest standards for workplaces while they are in in-use.

In collaboration with the BCO Research Committee, the Presidential Team and the BCO’s Head of Research, Mr Kauntze has steered the BCO Research programme to inform upon and investigate continually the critical challenges in the office sector. This has seen vital research published on topics ranging from sustainability, agile working, health and wellbeing to designing for neurodiversity.

Working alongside the Presidential Team, Mr Kauntze is overseeing the introduction of two new BCO Committees – the London Regional Committee and the Life Sciences Committee. Each committee is being created to respond to emerging major trends in the sector, including London’s unique position in the British office market and the growth of life sciences into a notable real estate market.  

The BCO also launched its new website last week which reflects and supports today’s office sector, with clear, user-friendly access to essential resources such as BCO guides and research. It will showcase the best in office design while providing all the latest BCO news and details of upcoming BCO events.

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “It will be bitter-sweet to say farewell to the BCO next summer. It has been an honour to hold the role of chief executive with the organisation for what will be 25 years this November. I will always have great fondness of the BCO and I am excited to see how it will continue to grow and progress with the excellent Presidential Team. Meanwhile, I am delighted to be launching the London Regional Committee and the Life Sciences Committee in this final year, which I believe will offer new springboards for discussion on progressive topics in the sector.”

Despina Katsikakis, President of the BCO, said: “I would like to express deep gratitude personally and on behalf of the BCO committees and members for Richard’s extraordinary work and commitment. For a quarter of a century Richard has focused on growing and diversifying the BCO’s membership and driving forward its purpose to research, inform and inspire best practice and discussion of key issues. Throughout his tenure Richard has positioned the BCO as the guiding light for a dynamic commercial office sector, a crucial role which we in the presidential team will continue to uphold and develop in line with the sector’s changing priorities and evolution.”

Peter Crowther, Senior Vice President of the BCO, said: “Fast approaching 25 years at the helm of the BCO, Richard has been a fantastic ambassador for the office sector, guiding members through economic recessions and the Covid-19 pandemic, to emerge stronger each time. Richard has steered the BCO to become one of Britain’s leading property bodies, producing publications heralded as ‘industry bibles’ and the BCO Awards have evolved to become acclaimed as the most rigorous and respected in our sector. He is an incredibly well-respected voice and leader in the industry. I am sure the entire membership and industry will join me in sincerely thanking Richard for his outstanding contribution and wishing him good health and happiness in his next chapter.”

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media Contact:

ING Media

BCO@ing-media.com

T: + 44 (0) 20 7247 8334

Crowther, Co-Founder of HERE, succeeds Cushman & Wakefield’s Despina Katsikakis, and GPE’s Helen Hare becomes Senior Vice President

LONDON, 27 June 2024: Peter Crowther, Co-Founder at HERE, has been elected President of the British Council for Offices (BCO) with immediate effect, following yesterday’s BCO annual general meeting. He succeeds Despina Katsikakis, Executive Partner & Global Lead, Total Workplace at Cushman & Wakefield.

The presidential team also sees Helen Hare, Director of Projects at GPE, take on the role of Senior Vice President, following on from Crowther in the role. Andy McBain, Head of Future of Workspace & Design at NatWest Group, becomes the new Junior Vice President.

Crowther brings to the role expertise in navigating the intersection between the office and other sectors, as well as a passion for creating and delivering innovative and sustainable workplaces. His career spans more than 25 years in real estate. In his previous role as Chief Development Officer at Bruntwood SciTech, Crowther led the evolution of the company’s development portfolio since he joined in 1997, including the advent of its commercial, science and technology joint venture with Legal & General in 2018.

In April 2024, Crowther co-founded HERE, with fellow Bruntwood alumnus Kate Lawlor. HERE is a development management and advisory company focused on the acquisition, reinvention, repositioning and ongoing management of operational real estate – with a focus on commercial offices and laboratory spaces.

Crowther first joined the BCO in 2010, acting as a member of the BCO’s Northern Regional Committee. He was also a member of the National Awards Judging Panel between 2012 and 2017, acting as Chair of the panel in 2015.

Last month, Crowther chaired the BCO’s Annual Conference in Birmingham, which was themed “creating vibrancy”. Crowther was instrumental in involving the BCO’s NextGen cohort – the 25% of BCO members who are aged 35 and under – in the organisation of conference panels on topics including how culture shapes workplaces.

Crowther’s focus as BCO President will be on how the sector can continue to evolve in response to the challenges posed by climate change and rapid technological advancements through solutions such as retrofit and the integration of AI, while improving occupier-experience for all.

During her 12-month presidency, Katsikakis championed the role of the office in supporting environmental, social and economic resilience and providing inspiring places for people to thrive. Katsikakis took part in the organisation of the BCO’s inaugural ESG conference and oversaw the launch of the BCO’s new research agenda in January this year. This significant update included the development of the BCO’s ‘2030 vision for the office’, concentrating on four pillars: economy, business, technology, and ESG.

Katsikakis also led the undertaking of a new research initiative to define the parameters of customer experience and create a new BCO awards category, acknowledging that the future of the office will be characterised by a greater focus on people and experience.

Other changes to the BCO’s Presidential Team include Helen Hare’s promotion to Senior Vice President. Bruce Paterson, Founding Partner at Quantem, continues in his role as Honorary Treasurer.

Peter Crowther, President of the BCO and Co-Founder at HERE, said: “It is an honour to take on the role of BCO President. As we adapt to the new realities of hybrid, tech-enabled working conditions, the role of the office will continue to adapt to best meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s workers. I look forward to working with the BCO committees across the regions and the NextGen as we explore new models for office design and operation, and how commercial real estate can feed into the broader development of UK cities.”

Despina Katsikakis, Immediate Past President of the BCO and Executive Partner & Global Lead, Total Workplace at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “My warmest congratulations to Peter for his appointment as President of the BCO. It has been a pleasure to hold the position of BCO President over the past year and to be part of the organisation’s ongoing evolution. For me, finding new platforms for collaboration and testing ideas is one of the most important ways forward and the BCO continues to play a vital part in the industry by giving members from different sectors the chance to come together to learn from each other. I am excited to see what Peter will achieve in the coming year and look forward to continuing to support BCO members through my new position as Immediate Past President.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, said: “I am delighted to welcome Peter Crowther to the role of BCO President. Peter has made his mark in the commercial sector as an innovative and ambitious leader, and I am a great admirer of Peter’s collaborative and creative vision for the future of the workplace. It was a huge pleasure to work alongside him on the curation of this year’s BCO conference in Birmingham, where his focus on social value and inclusivity was brought to the fore. I wish him the very best for this new role and look forward to seeing all he will accomplish during his presidential year.

“My sincere thanks go to Despina Katsikakis for her outstanding work over the past year. Despina has been a formidable leader for the BCO. Despina’s work with the BCO’s Research Committee to launch new research pillars to set the parameters for upcoming papers demonstrates her ongoing role in guiding the office sector as it continues to evolve in response to changing occupier needs, economic shifts, the rapid progression of workplace tech and growing sustainability standards. Despina’s human-centric approach, her inquisitive nature and her clear passion for creating spaces with wellbeing at their heart have left a lasting impression on the BCO.”

“I would also like to thank Bruce Paterson for his dedication and continued work as BCO’s Honorary Treasurer, congratulate Helen Hare, who now becomes our Senior Vice President, and welcome Andy McBain, our new Junior Vice President.”

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is the UK’s leading member organisation representing the interests of all those who occupy, design, build, own or manage offices in the UK. The BCO leads on thought leadership and best practice in all issues related to the creation and use of office space – through its research, awards, conference and events programmes. You can learn more about the BCO at www.bco.org.uk.

For more information, please contact:

ING Media
bco@ing-media.com
+ 44 (0) 20 7247 8334

Today, BCO announces the results of our photography competition held during last month’s 2024 BCO Conference.

Warmest congratulations to Stacey Henshaw from Shaw Studios who won 1st Place with her photo in the City of Contrasts category: Birmingham Townhall.

The judges were unanimous in their praise for the composition of this standout photo capturing old and new in the fast-changing city of Birmingham. As the highest-scoring photo for visual impact and adherence to the theme, ‘city of contrasts,’ the judges thought that it was the most deserving winner and met the brief brilliantly by capturing three contrasting facades intersecting in one, striking shot.

Congratulations also to the runner up, Sandeep Shambi from Howells who scored highly with his photo of Digbeth. The intricate texture of the bricks adds depth and character, creating a compelling visual narrative of vibrancy, creativity and industrial heritage landscape of Digbeth in Birmingham.

Congratulations to Stacey Henshaw, grand prize winner of £1000.

Joe Wilson’s shot of The Ringway Centre (Architect: James Roberts, 1962) was highly commended.

Judging:
Special thanks to Mark Limbrick (Aros Architects) for hosting the session at the Aros Studios; Mark Simpson (BDP); Roxane McMeeken (ING Media); Mary Economidou (BCO) with input from Conference Chair, Peter Crowther (HERE); Dublin Top 10 contender and BCO NextGen Midlands committee member, Keely Warr (AtkinsRéalis).

 

Stacey Henshaw
Shaw Studios
City of Contrasts category
Birmingham Town Hall with the new development behind – Three Chamberlain Square designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

 
Sandeep Shambi
Howells
City of Contrasts
Digbeth – Creative.
 
 
Joe Wilson
BDP
(Instagram entry) Interestingly, the building featured (The Ringway Centre, Architect: James Roberts, 1962) is one which is threatened for demolition – but is highly regarded by brutalist fans, and, bodies such as the 20th Century Society are campaigning to save it.

Thank you to our judges and to everyone who took took part. Recap the creativity and vibrancy of the shortlist here.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit an entry. This year saw some outstanding efforts aligned with the brief and the ‘Creating Vibrancy’ theme of the conference. Not only did they capture the spirit of vibrancy (a tall order in the weather we had!) but some of the entrants went above and beyond to frame ‘Community’ and the ‘City of Contrasts’ from their unique perspectives.

 
Judging:
Special thanks to Mark Limbrick (Aros Architects) for hosting the session at the Aros Studios; Mark Simpson (BDP); Roxane McMeeken (ING Media); Mary Economidou (BCO) with input from Conference Chair, Peter Crowther (HERE); Dublin Top 10 contender and BCO NextGen Midlands committee member, Keely Warr (AtkinsRéalis).

View the shortlist below

Borja Marcaida
Sheppard Robson
Submitted his entry with the title: The Wave of Change featuring the Bullring and St.Martins as subjects for his entry in the City of Contrasts category.

 

Bradley Lobetta
Watkins Payne
Community
Birmingham Hall of Memory, war memorial with Library of Birmingham.

 

Daniel Morgans
Chapman Taylor
A quiet moment, gently framing a simple contrast of the bullring and a hint of nature nearby.

 

George Brennan
Pick Everard
(Instagram entry) taken from inside The Bond building in Digbeth looking out at the canal and beyond.

 

Howard Morgan
Real Service
Community
“Reception/help desk at the X & Y Flex Space at 103 Colmore Row. Howard entered it into the Community category and said “Our business is as much about people as it is about buildings.”

 

Iain Powell
TSA Riley
Community
During the conference plenary Session on AI’s impact on construction, Neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow expanded on humans’ gamma and beta brain waves. During her time living off grid in the houseboat community, she said that “Perhaps living off grid in the houseboat community enhances an ability to reflect and meditate, which paradoxically increases the speed electrical oscillations across our brain so that we can access all the different areas within our brain so that we can have joined up thinking so that we can act not just with knee jerk reactions, but we can start to access all this intelligence that lives within our brain.

 
Joe Wilson
BDP
(Instagram entry) Interestingly, the building featured (The Ringway Centre, Architect: James Roberts, 1962) is one which is threatened for demolition – but is highly regarded by brutalist fans, and, bodies such as the 20th Century Society are campaigning to save it.
 
Mark Leeson
McBains
City of Contrasts
Birmingham Library. Contrasts reflecting on contrasts.
 
Stacey Henshaw
Shaw Studios
City of Contrasts category
Birmingham Town Hall with the new development behind – Three Chamberlain Square designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
 
Sandeep Shambi
Howells
City of Contrasts
Digbeth, Today – Tomorrow. Three different Digbeth photos by Sandeep were chosen by the judges, first making it on to the long list and finally not one but three of his photos impressively made the cut all the way to the shortlist.
 
Sandeep Shambi
Howells
City of Contrasts
Digbeth – Creative.
 
Sandeep Shambi
Howells
City of Contrasts
Digbeth Industrial Heritage.

Look out for the winner announcement on Thursday, 6 June! 

Final call for BCO Conference Photography Competition entries!

We hope you enjoyed the BCO Conference in Birmingham this year!

A reminder that entries for the Photography Competition close on Thursday 30 May at 5pm. This year, entrants stand a chance of winning up to £1500 in CASH PRIZES!

Did you capture photos of what Community in a city means to you? Or, perhaps you captured photos of hidden gems, architecture, urban life, vibrant arts, culture or picturesque views of this city full of contrasts? Take a chance, get creative and submit your photos and you never know – you could be following in the footsteps of the previous winner from Dublin 2023

The competition is open to all levels. The judges will be looking out for creativity, originality, composition, and visual impact in two categories:

Category 1 – Community:
Capture moments that reflect the interaction between people and their urban environment. This could include street scenes that illustrate the lively and engaged community within the city. Capture what community means to you.

Category 2 – City of Contrasts:
Highlight urban planning and design elements that contribute to the city’s vibrancy and uniqueness. Explore the contrasts within Birmingham’s urban landscape. This might include photos which juxtapose old and new architecture, traditional and contemporary elements, or any other visual contrasts that contribute to the city’s unique character.
For inspiration, look no further than the Amateur Photographer website or last year’s creative shortlist.

There are three different ways you can submit your photographs:

  • Upload to the conference app (remember to include your NAME and category in the details section. Find this at the bottom of your photo when entering on the app. Entries with no name will not be counted. Any issues, please email mail@bco.org.uk).
  • Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtags for your chosen category i.e #Community or #CityofContrasts. Remember to follow and tag @bco_uk on Instagram.
  • Alternatively, you can simply e-mail your entry to mail@bco.org.uk with your name and chosen category in the subject line. 

We hope you enjoyed the BCO Conference! For more info on the competition before it closes, click here. 
Entries will close on Thursday 30 May at 5pm.
Terms and conditions apply. 

SUPPORT THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE CHARITY

#BCOconference | #Birmingham2024

16 May 2024

Winners showcase sustainable spaces with a focus on future-proofing and inclusive design, contributing to the wider regeneration of South of England and South Wales city centres

The South of England’s and South Wales’s most outstanding workplaces have been announced, with British Council for Offices Awards going to six office buildings across the region. Held at The Coal Exchange Hotel, the BCO’s annual South of England and South Wales Awards Dinner celebrated the high-calibre of the region’s offices in terms of design, fit-out operation and sustainability, setting the standard for excellence across the sector.

The winners of this year’s competition in the South West region stand out for their occupier-centric design credentials, as well as their innovative implementation of inclusivity and sustainability measures. In its second year, the ESG Award continues to celebrate the achievements of offices which excel in responding to the sector’s changing Environmental, Social and Governance needs. The winning projects for the region demonstrate the growing importance of ESG, evidenced by the winner of Best Corporate Workplace, Calon, also receiving the ESG award.

The BCO Regional Award winners for the South of England and South Wales are:

The Best Corporate Workplace award went to Calon. The project’s framework for sustainability and innovation impressed the judges, particularly in terms of energy efficiency, for which the building achieved a NABERS 5-star rating. High-quality flexible spaces provide a new hybrid working area in the heart of Cardiff, adding to the wider mixed-use development scheme in Central Square. The office offers designated areas for collaboration, as well as formal and informal meeting spaces, providing occupiers with an environment that promotes productivity and interaction.

Receiving the Best Commercial Workplace award is EQ. With wellbeing initiatives becoming increasingly important in the office sector, this project provides ample opportunity for occupiers to de-stress. The building’s facilities aid this through the available workout classes, wellness studio, roof terrace and cycle hire, all designed to improve occupier physical and mental health. The judges also made note of the project’s sustainability credentials, with the design including low-carbon heat pumps and a unitised façade to optimise daylight and achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating. The 200,000sqft building contributes to Bristol’s economic development, providing a high percentage of amenity spaces.

Halo was crowned Best Fit out Workplace, with the judges praising the project’s focus on inclusivity and biophilia throughout the building. Tailoring its approach to the client’s needs, Halo provides breakout areas and flexible workspaces, as well as spaces for workers to exercise, relax, and eat. The interior is finished functionally in a neutral aesthetic, avoiding the need for future changes to fit-out in line with changing design trends. The consideration taken during the fit out was described by the judges’ as a cradle-to-cradle approach, making use of durable materials, while providing a vibrant aesthetic. The project is on track for a WELL platinum rating showcasing the standard of its occupier-centric wellbeing initiatives and design.

Winning the award for Best Project up to 2,500m2, the Quad O2, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is a small building with powerful solutions for sustainable, inclusive design. The judges were particularly impressed by the integration of technology, including wellbeing sensors and high-efficiency MEP systems. Despite its modest size, the project stood out to the judges for its significant reduction in energy demand and small carbon footprint, achieved through a ‘fabric first’ approach, due to the selection of materials which strengthen the building envelope. The project also incorporates elements of biophilic design and natural lighting to create an inclusive environment, catered to diversity and accessibility needs.

Building 3000 takes home the award for Best Refurbished/Recycled Workplace having impressed the judges by its proactive use of retrofit initiatives. The judges note that the visual aesthetics of the building’s workspaces were not compromised during the refurbishment, but were carefully considered, with praise going to the striking, progressive design. Encompassing the needs of occupiers and commercial requirements, the project provides a combination of wellness space in the form of a rooftop terrace, end of journey facilities, and high-quality office space. A central atrium serves as a focal point, designed to facilitate communal gathering.

This year, Plus X Brighton was the recipient of the Innovation award. The project supports the broader regeneration of Brighton, contributing to the sense of community with a publicly accessible café. The building provides flexible workspaces for start-ups and entrepreneurs, offering a solution to the challenges of office space scarcity in the area. Incorporating specialist hire prototyping labs and digital studios, the office provides insight into the possible innovations of future workspaces. The building has achieved a WELL Platinum rating.

Lastly, the ESG award was the second award to go to Calon. The judges’ found environmental stewardship to be at the core of the project, which attained a BREEAM Outstanding certification. Additionally, the project was awarded WELL Platinum standard, with notable occupier-centric technological innovations brought in to monitor air quality, along with the implementation of natural lighting into the design. The Judges complimented the operational net-zero initiatives in place, with the building’s solar panels and air source heat pumps providing 100% of the energy used onsite.

The South of England and South Wales winners will compete for the BCO National Awards on 8th October 2024.

The lead sponsor for this year’s BCO Awards is ISG. Category and Gold sponsors are AECOM and Troup Bywaters + Anders. The BCO awards are in association with EG.

Catherine Macpherson, Judging Chair for the BCO South of England and South Wales Region said: “The standard of these projects is admirable, providing us a beacon of innovation and great insight into the future of the built environment. With plenty of external factors facing the projects, the initiative and dedication to high standards did not falter. It is also evident that the move towards wellbeing is paramount, with all projects addressing an aspect of occupier welfare. The focus the winning projects put on inclusivity is a promising indicator of the future of this industry.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO said: “The BCO’s regional awards provide the industry with an excellent opportunity to foster collaboration and creativity. From Cardiff, to Guilford, the South West region has seen an outstanding array of high quality office space, designed to meet not only the needs of occupiers but also those of local communities. This year’s winners show how office design can meld stunning visuals with thought-leading, practical spaces. Congratulations to all the winners of the region and best of luck for the upcoming National Awards.”

John Wright, Chair of the BCO Committee for South of England and South Wales, said: “It is encouraging to see the high standard of office buildings being delivered across the South of England and South Wales. This region continues to impress with vibrant cities and ambitious sustainability targets. Offices have a vital role to play helping to revitalise town and city centres and the winning projects are shining examples of how strategic development and intelligent design can create spaces for communities to thrive for the years to come.”

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media Contact:

ING Media

BCO@ing-media.com

T: + 44 (0) 20 7247 8334

Designed by Belfast-based RPP Architects Ltd, City Quays 3 comprises 250,000 sq. ft. of highly sustainable commercial space over 16 storeys, with views to the inner harbour and city centre.

 Northern Ireland’s Farrans Construction completed the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building, which is part of the broader City Quays regeneration scheme – a £275 million, office-led project located on former docklands within Belfast city centre.

 The three new City Quays buildings represent Belfast Harbour’s response to ongoing demand by inward investors and local firms for new Grade A office space in Belfast.

 City Quays 3 is now home to global blue-chip businesses and local companies, which have access to collaboration and client interface spaces, plus on-floor terrace areas.

 The BCO Northern Ireland Talk & Tour was hosted by Tim Boyle, Development Manager for Belfast Harbour, alongside Harry McConnell, Director of RPP Architects.

 Following a welcome by Ruairi Dempsey, MEP director for HDR and BCO Northern Ireland Committee chairperson, Tim and Harry offered guests an in-depth look at the building, including its design features and sustainability credentials.

 Attendees were then given guided tours of spaces occupied by two high-profile companies: global bank, Investec and life sciences company, B-Secur.

 The tour showcased the fit-outs and high specification finishes that capture the corporate identity of each tenant, with guests enjoying the magnificent views of Belfast’s key landmarks both within the city and surrounding area.

 Ruairi Dempsey, BCO Northern Ireland Committee chairperson, commented: “In the wake of the emergence of a functioning executive in Stormont, the commercial office market in Northern Ireland continues to develop and offer best-in-class office spaces, which can be seen in the quality of development and fit-out demonstrated in City Quays 3.

 “Northern Ireland requires a nuanced and unique approach to development, and the strong leadership clearly demonstrated by Belfast Harbour, coupled with the intimate local knowledge of their team is showing others the way forward.

 “Developing dynamic and resilient businesses coupled with attracting and retaining global players to our shores is a key aspiration in our development as an economy. Providing employers and organisations with high performing, low-energy and sustainable Grade A workplaces, whether through new development or retrofit of existing buildings, is a key part of this aspiration.”

 Tim Boyle added: “We’d like to thank all attendees for joining us on tour of City Quays 3, a flagship development at the heart of Belfast Harbour’s regeneration into a place where global companies can call home.

 “The fact that City Quays 3 is over 50% let – well above market norms – demonstrates the continued relevance of commercial space of this kind to local and FDI occupiers. We invite prospective occupiers to contact us for more information.

 “Many thanks to our hosts, Investec and B-Secur, as well as Rhianna Harrup from the BCO events teams for her support in arranging the tour and on the day.”

 The BCO Northern Ireland Talk & Tour event was sponsored by Belfast Harbour Commissioners and RPP Architects Ltd.

 The next BCO Northern Ireland event is a NextGen quiz to be held in the Gallagher Lounge (above the Duke of York pub) in Belfast on 30 May 2024, in partnership with RICS. Although focused on bringing together the next generation of leaders, innovators, experts and industry leaders, it is open to all. The committee and local membership would very much like to welcome you there.

 British Council for Offices researches, develops and communicates best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues. Membership is drawn from those who occupy office space, and those professional organisations and people who design, build, and manage office space. For more information on becoming a BCO member, visit this page.

10 May 2024

Celebrating innovation workspaces, well-being, and sustainability at the BCO Northern Awards 2024

The North’s most outstanding workplaces have been announced, with prestigious British Council for Offices (BCO) Awards going to seven landmark office buildings across the region.

Held on Thursday 9 May at Manchester’s Kimpton Clocktower, the BCO’s annual Northern Awards recognised projects that demonstrate best practice in office design, fit-out, operation and sustainability, setting the standard for excellence across the diverse sector.

The BCO Regional Award winners in each category for the North were:

Commenting on each of the winners, the judges noted:

Stockport’s Merseyway Innovation Centre has ambitiously transformed the old Merseyway Shopping Centre into a high-quality, shared working space that re-purposes vacant retail floorspace to provide a centrally located business centre. It provides office space primarily for start-up businesses with flexible offices to suit varying budgets to support growth. This ambitious re-configuration of the shopping centre demonstrates how such structures can be re-purposed with minimal intervention to create a no-compromise, low carbon and low energy workspace fully enabled to support businesses of the future and helping the town centre regeneration, adding footfall and critical mass to Stockport’s high street.

Drapers Yard, the winner of the Refurbished/Recycled Workplace category, has revitalised and repurposed the historic Kays Catalogue building into a high-quality work environment, supporting jobs and leading the way in biomedical science. Drapers Yards is the first development in the up-and-coming Temple District area to contribute towards improving connections to the wider city centre and surrounding communities. The team were commended for respecting the building’s previous incarnations, producing an innovative, creative space comprising a clinic, rooftop engagement space, GMP Pharmacy, production suites and high-quality workspace in a previously derelict building. By repurposing and saving embodied carbon alongside successfully delivering a challenging brief and complex design, the project was delivered at a difficult time, during a global pandemic.

Winner of the Fit out of Workplace category, co-working operator, x+why,at 100 Embankment, Salford, delivers an inspiring and unique space. The fit out spans the reception area, ground, first and second floors, as well as the roof terrace, and reflects the company’s ambition of creating community, collaboration and culture. Thanks to a true partnership approach to the project, combining a striking, outstanding design, quality finishes, social impact and sustainability, x+why has delivered a workplace with a difference at Embankment. Whether for start-ups in search of inspiration, growing teams seeking a supportive environment, or established businesses looking for a fresh start, x+why’s offering at 100 Embankment offers an impressive space where Salford and Manchester businesses can thrive. 

The judges awarded the Best Corporate Workplace award to NatWest Group’s new Northern headquarters in One Spinningfields Square. The result of this extensive refurbishment has transformed the space into a dynamic hub for the banking group, providing its employees and clients with an exciting and unique workplace in the vibrant Deansgate area. The space celebrates Manchester’s rich industrial heritage featuring subtle references to the iconic worker bee alongside artwork by local creators.

As part of its transition into the new space, NatWest Group revamped its Ways of Working, crafting a flexible office environment which incorporates a diverse range of work settings. Overall, the space was celebrated for fostering an inclusive atmosphere that prioritises staff well-being; achieved through the integration of brand-new wellness facilities, a multi-faith room, designated quiet and tech-free areas on office floors, and an external roof terrace.

Globe Point in Leeds, which won the Commercial Workplace award, is a Grade A innovative office development, providing more than 40,000 sq. ft. of space over seven storeys. The healthy, flexible, workspace maximises natural daylight and is recognised with a BREEAM Excellent rating, WiredScore Platinum and NABERS 4.5 Star, which showcases its in-use sustainability credentials. Drawing on its rich ties to the industrial revolution, the expressive flat iron building with intricate brick detailing creates a bold gateway to the wider Temple masterplan. Judges noted the sensitive design overcame a number of challenges on a narrow, irregular site, close to the immediate conservation area. Designed to deal with the demands of changing workplace strategies, Globe Point raises the bar in terms of workspace quality, amenities, occupant wellbeing and sustainability.

The ESG award was presented to One Strawberry Lane in Newcastle upon Tyne, the new headquarters for national housing association, social enterprise and charity, Home Group. Comprising 70,000 sq. ft. of accommodation over six storeys, the project captures Home Group’s brief to create an office which truly represents the organisation and the people it supports. The building has revitalised the workplace experience following a switch to hybrid working, and the variety of collaboration spaces available are attracting both community and business, creating a flexible, sustainable, and inclusive workspace community that gives back to its city context. In all, the development provides more than 1,500 voluntary sector organisations with free workspace and event space. The judges noted that the project demonstrates how positive social impact can reach new heights; a workplace can make a positive impact, now and well into the future, if it is more than just an office.

Boho X in Middlesborough – this year’s recipient of the Innovation award – will be an integral part of the wider Boho masterplan, the digital, creative, and business quarter of the Tees Valley. With 60,000 sq. ft. of Grade A office space on offer, the development will provide a boldly designed environment within the area, supporting flexible and adaptable internal environments to suit new digital companies. The proposed building wraps around a central atrium providing a striking arrival into the building, with flexible floor plates allowing for the subdivision of the space for multiple tenants or a single user. A ground-floor shared café and workspace are positioned to spill out into a new urban orchard providing a high-quality contemporary landscape.

The new office building will also boast a gym, health studio, lecture theatre, rooftop bar and external terrace contributing to the positive health and well-being of the building occupants and distinguishing itself as the market leader in modern office space. Demonstrating how public-private partnerships can facilitate incredible transformation, Boho X aims to create a world-renowned, thriving digital and creative sector in Middlesborough, its communities, and the wider region.

Commenting on behalf of the judging panel, Thomas Bone, Chair of the BCO Northern judges, said: “Each winner of this year’s BCO Northern Awards showcases the very best of office design. These best-in-class workspaces highlight how innovative approaches to well-being, sustainability, and community engagement can produce truly stand-out commercial spaces that people are proud to work in.

“The North really is seeing some of the most exciting office development, driven by partnerships between ambitious organisations, local authorities and talented office design and build specialists. This was another stellar year, and the judges were extremely impressed by the high quality of entries. We congratulate the winners and those who were highly commended – and look forward to seeing the region’s office landscape continue to thrive.”

Jon Moister, Regional Committee Chair for the BCO, said: “The BCO’s regional awards bring together the office industry to celebrate the latest innovations in workplace excellence. This year’s winners for the North exemplify how workplaces can create a sustainable work culture, while placing employee wellbeing, social impact, and sustainability at their heart. Many congratulations to all the regional winners and best of luck for the upcoming National Awards.”

The Northern region winners will now compete for the BCO National Awards in October 2024. More details will be announced soon.

The lead sponsor for this year’s BCO Awards is ISG. Gold sponsors are AECOM and Troup Bywaters + Anders. The BCO awards are in association with EG.

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media Contact:

Inform Communications

arron.eastwood@informcomms.co.uk

T: 07791653149

01 May 2024

London’s award-winning offices provide inspiring environments for workers and surrounding communities with sustainability and occupier needs at their core

London’s most outstanding workplaces have been announced, with British Council for Offices Awards going to seven office buildings across the city. Held at the Park Plaza hotel, the BCO’s annual London Awards Lunch recognised projects that demonstrate best practice in office design, fit-out, operation and sustainability, setting the standard for excellence across the sector.

The winners of this year’s competition in London stand out for their user-centric design credentials, as well as their creative implementation of wellbeing and sustainability measures. Heritage restoration and reuse were also recurring themes across the winning projects. In its second year, the ESG Award continues to celebrate the achievements of offices which excel in responding to the sector’s changing Environmental, Social and Governance needs.

The BCO Regional Award winners for London are:

Grainhouse was crowned Best Corporate Workplace. The judges praised the project team’s ability to overcome a series of logistical challenges, not least a complex layout which stitched together five buildings overlapping different boroughs and levels. With a café, terrace and library on the top floor, the building makes the most efficient use of space, while ensuring good levels of natural lights on all floors. The office delivers an inspirational working environment, drawing on the history of the existing classical heritage building. The new high-quality feature staircase at its centre sets the tone for the rest of the project. Testament to its belief in having provided a high-quality occupier experience, the developer, Hines, took over a third of the building as its new European Headquarters.

This year Best Commercial Workplace was awarded to 8 Bishopsgate. With a clear aim of adding to the quality, not just quantity, of offices in the City, the building provides a generous 75,000sqft of amenity space comprised of cafes, lounges and an auditorium with an impressive capacity of 200. A viewing gallery also sits at level 50, adding to the project’s civic offering. Providing unrivalled views of the City, it is open to the public free of charge. With a high level of build quality on display throughout, the facilities management suite has been designed to be visible as the beating heart of the operation, and was also commended for its accessibility.

BP London takes home the award for Best Fit out Workplace. The 20,000sqm of workspace creates a dynamic and energetic environment promoting collaboration and sparking innovative thinking. With sustainability as an imperative, the new office design offers an inclusive and nurturing ecosystem that celebrates diversity. The building not only successfully promotes the health and wellbeing of its staff, but also creates an uplifting experience for visitors, collaborators and communities.

Winning the award for Projects up to 2,500sqm, All Saintsis an exemplar of how an owner-occupiercan reuse existing building assets. Originally an orphanage which was later transformed into a hospital and then an archive, this is the fourth iteration of a building that has seen a lifetime of different uses. Successfully navigating the constraints posed by the 19th-century building, the project celebrates its character while establishing a creative and inspiring workspace. The layout offers spaces for both smaller team-working structures as well as practice-wide interaction. The judges commended the achieved EPC B rating, admirable in a building built primarily of wood and brick.

Receiving the award for Best Refurbished/Recycled Workplace, Tower Hamlets Town Hall brings together a number of the council offices providing an accessible and inclusive gateway to council services in the borough. The building is a new focal point of Whitechapel’s regeneration and consists of a restoration of a Grade II listed former Royal London Hospital building. With a nod towards the key eras of the existing building’s past redevelopments between 1757 and 1906, the design draws on the architectural character inherent in each to enrich the new internal environment. The new Town Hall brings a London landmark back to life and reinvigorates it with a new purpose.

The Innovation award went to The Forge, which followed a unique procurement route in championing design for Manufacture (P-DfMA). Digital tools were used to conduct research around performance and productivity. This not only informed the design itself but gathered data which will guide future projects beyond the site boundaries, helping inspire the wider industry. Sustainability is a key focus of the project, which was the first UK commercial development designed and built to meet the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon standard. The final design consists of two buildings offering a generous and welcoming reception, courtyard space and quality amenity areas.

Last but not least, the ESG award was given to Sky Innovation Centre which has been tailored to the needs of a creative end-user. The judges were especially taken by the project’s ability to hold all components of ESG at the core of its design, from the feasibility stages all the way through to operation. The building achieved BREEAM Outstanding together with WELL Platinum, all while creating an inspiring workplace. Designed to accommodate hybrid working, the building promotes collaboration and dynamic interaction across its impressive range of sustainable spaces.

Angela Joseph, Development Director at Brookfield Properties and BCO London Judging Chair said: “Over the past year we’ve seen a surge of demand for high-quality offices. The 2024 London winners are leading examples of how offices continue to play a vital role for UK businesses and cities. It was a joy to have the opportunity to visit this year’s entries, each of which take a unique approach to creating stimulating spaces both for occupiers and surrounding communities. I was particularly impressed by the way multiple winners successfully weaved new technologies and building practices into pre-existing heritage buildings, demonstrating a new standard of reuse and restoration while raising the overall standard of sustainable office design.”

Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO said: “The BCO’s regional awards are the perfect moment for the industry to reflect on the achievements of the past year, as well as to recognise the progress being made in driving forward higher industry standards for the years to come. From sensitively restoring buildings to providing state-of-the-art wellbeing spaces, this year’s London winners exemplify the strides being made in design and occupier experience. Well done to all the 2024 London winners and best of luck for the National Awards this October.”

The London winners will compete for the BCO National Awards on 8th October 2024.

The lead sponsor for this year’s BCO Awards is ISG. Category and Gold sponsors are AECOM and Troup Bywaters + Anders. The BCO awards are in association with EG.

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media Contact:

ING Media

BCO@ing-media.com

T: + 44 (0) 20 7247 8334

26 Apr 2024

Scotland’s award-winning offices recognised as highly sustainable spaces that put people and communities first

Scotland’s most outstanding workplaces have been announced, with British Council for Offices’ Awards going to six office buildings across the country. 

Held at the Grand Central Hotel, the BCO’s annual Scottish Awards Lunch recognised projects that demonstrate best practice in office design, fit-out, operation and sustainability, setting the standard for excellence across the sector.

The winners of this year’s competition in Scotland stand out for their unparalleled drive to set new sustainability benchmarks, as well as for ensuring occupiers and local communities are at the heart of each development.

In its second year, the ESG Award continues to celebrate the achievements of offices that excel in responding to the sector’s changing environmental, social and governance needs.

The BCO Regional Award winners for Scotland are:

The annual Chair’s Award for an outstanding contribution to the property industry in the region, was presented to Graeme Bone, MD of Drum Property Group.

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, Renfrew, was presented with not only the coveted ‘Corporate Workplace’ but also the award for ESG. Built for the University of Strathclyde and designed by HLM Architects, the judges were hugely impressed that it sets a new standard in environmental and energy achievements, earning BREEAM ‘outstanding’. A pivotal anchor for future development, NMIS is attracting global manufacturers as well as bridging small innovative businesses with larger organisations in an inspiring collaborative space.  Its commitment to sustainability, innovation and industry collaboration is quickly establishing NMIS as a beacon of excellence.

Parabola’s ‘1 New Park Square’, Edinburgh, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, was presented with the award for Best Commercial Workplace. An 87,500 sq. ft. ‘Grade A’ office development, the judging panel awarded this building for its world-class arrival experience and openplan floors. Commenting that this is an exceptional building using high quality finishes andattention to detail throughout, the judges recognised its blend of natural materials and exposed concrete.  The needs of tenants have been well understood with the provision of excellent health and wellbeing facilities as well as public restaurants, which have become an attraction in their own right. The panel commented that 1 New Park Square marks the start of the next exciting phase of development in Edinburgh Park.

Deloitte in Edinburgh, designed by Perkins & Will, was presented with the award for Best Fit Out of Workplace with the judging panel impressed by its drive to create an inclusive and sustainable workplace, making barriers invisible and fostering a sense of community. Home to 450 staff and occupying a floor in the new Haymarket Square Building, the panel appreciated the extensive staff engagement, which allowed Deloitte to deliver space with connectivity, flexibility, and collaboration at the heart of its design.

The Award for Projects Up to 2,500 m2 went to Statkraft at the Garment Factory, Glasgow, designed by Graven. A global renewable energy business, Statkraft has created a welcoming space for collaboration, bringing the outdoors inside, with sustainability at its core.  Representing Statkraft’s values and Norwegian heritage, the judges were impressed that they had incorporated reclaimed, recycled and upcycled elements throughout, whilst respecting the existing characteristics of the existing building. The panel felt that Statkraft has created a unique space which is clearly loved and enjoyed by its team. 

Eastworks in Glasgow, designed for Clyde Gateway by Sheppard Robson and INCH Architecture and Design, took home the award for Best Refurbished / Recycled Project. Preserving and reinventing a prominent structure from Glasgow’s Victorian industrial past, Eastworks offers five creative work spaces totalling 31,700 ft².  The 94m-long, double-barrelled structure has been divided to create dramatic office space flooded with natural light with vibrant orange staircases and central mezzanines. The judges were particularly impressed with the community engagement and regeneration that underpins this project; transforming a vacant and derelict structure into light-filled workspaces that create future employment opportunities in the area.

The Scottish winners will compete for the BCO National Awards on 8th October 2024.

The lead sponsor for this year’s BCO Awards is ISG. Category and Gold sponsors are AECOM and Troup Bywaters + Anders, with Ryden as this year’s regional sponsor. The BCO awards are in association with EG.

Gillian Stewart, Chair of the BCO in Scotland, said: “Occupiers and communities, both within buildings and in their local neighbourhoods, have continued to be driving forces for developers, whether they are building speculatively or on behalf of a client. In the drive to attract people back to our cities, and to build networks within these buildings, we are seeing influence from the hotel and leisure sectors, as well as more focus on softer, people-centred elements.

“People, whether occupiers or the teams behind these developments, continue, rightly, to drive change within the sector. We are seeing recovery from the last few years in the form of exciting, innovative developments, and I feel optimistic that this will continue.”

Donald Reid, Chair of the Scottish Judging panel, added: “”Having spent several days visiting the very best of Scotland’s office projects, the judging panel again had some tough decisions to make. We have seen a continued focus on ESG, wellbeing and hybrid working, as well as community being put at the heart of the development process. Every year, the sector evolves and we see the highest standards of examples of fresh thinking and innovation, which makes the judging process challenging. I would like to congratulate this year’s winners for delivering exciting, future-proofed and sustainable offices to the Scottish market.”

ENDS

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) mission is to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues.

Established in 1990, the BCO is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector.

Its members are all organisations involved in creating, acquiring, or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions, or public agencies. The BCO works to advance the collective understanding of its members, enabling them to work together to create more effective office space.

Media contact:

Lisa Mennie

Skylark PR Ltd

07825225414

lisa@skylarkpublicrelations.com

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