One of Birmingham’s newest commercial buildings and the regional HQ of a gas distribution company in Coventry have been named winners at an award ceremony celebrating office development projects.
The British Council for Offices Midlands and Central England Awards, held in Birmingham today, recognises projects that demonstrate best practice in office design, fit-out, operation and sustainability.
The 26-storey 103 Colmore Row, in the heart of Birmingham’s main business district, won the commercial workplace category. It opened last year and has a range of offices alongside a ground-floor café and rooftop restaurant overlooking the city from 24 floors up.
Judges praised “the respectful way” in which the building has changed the city’s skyline without dominating the local conservation area in which it lies where it has the historic Council House and Town Hall among its near neighbours.
The panel added that the predominantly glazed façade allows 103 Colmore Row to reflect the streetscape around it while the muted palette of grey and black finishes gives the building a classic, timeless feel.
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James Howarth, managing director of Sterling Property Ventures which developed 103 Colmore Row, said: “The BCO is the industry benchmark for best-in-class office development and we are thrilled they have awarded 103 Colmore Row best commercial workplace.
“This project has been more than a decade in the making. We worked through a pandemic and financial crisis to deliver it but, despite setbacks, our focus was always on creating a landmark building occupants and the city of Birmingham can be proud of.
“The feedback we have received about the building has been overwhelmingly positive, from both occupiers and the general public. Having the endorsement of our peers at the BCO is the icing on the cake.”
James Brodie is managing director for portfolio and asset management at Tristan Capital Partners which funded the build.
He added: “I’d like to thank the entire project team for all their work and commitment to deliver such a standout development.
“103 Colmore Row is an exemplar building combining high-quality workspace, modern amenities and environmental, social and governance credentials. We’re delighted to now call the building ‘award winning’.”
Cadent Gas’ regional head office on Ansty Park in Coventry The other West Midlands winner was Cadent Gas’ new regional head office on Ansty Park, in Coventry.
The building won the environment, social value and governance category which is a new award for 2023, recognising those projects which will have long-term sustainable outcomes within the commercial building sector.
Cadent Gas opened the 100,000 sq ft purpose-built complex on Ansty Park last year.
Judges praised the building’s impressive design which they felt focused on employee engagement and the health and wellbeing of occupants in a light-filled space. Its on-site amenities include a restaurant and gym, mother and baby rooms, multi-faith areas, outdoor terracing and cycle storage.
The panel also praised efforts to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, with locally sourced materials and the use of the latest technology and energy-saving measures.
There were three other awards handed out which went to the Watford campus of TK Maxx owner TJX (corporate workplace), TV streaming firm Roku’s HQ in Cambridge (fit out) and Sycamore House, an unused metal shed transformed into a life sciences facility in Stevenage (refurbished/recycled workplace).
Winners from this and four other UK regions will now go forward to the national ceremony to be held in London on October 3.
Lee Jones, partner at construction company Quantem and chairman of the judging panel, said: “The calibre of this year’s awards has pushed the boundaries of workplace design.
“The emphasis on carbon reduction, decrease of fossil fuel use and a true focus on the health and wellbeing of all who use workplaces has been outstanding.”
Rob van Zyl, partner at engineering consultancy Cundall and chairman of the BCO Midlands and Central committee, added: “These offices represent best practice in a post-pandemic world. Society has been forever changed and, with it, the workplace of the future is emerging.
“These outstanding projects demonstrate what can be achieved by creative and dedicated teams who are delivering exceptional offices for the Midlands and Central England.”
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