ESA architects, part of Capita’s property and infrastructure business, have delivered an outstanding, design-led development in Farnborough Business Park; it is proving to be a leading light in showcasing how new office space can be informed, purposeful and innovative, while remaining sensitive to its surroundings.
Farnborough Airfield played an important role in the history of aviation in the UK – it was the site of the first powered flight in Britain in 1908. The ESA development, at I and II Pinehurst, was specifically designed to reflect and respect that important history.
The Pinehurst development has since become somewhat of a TV star – appearing in Antiques Roadshow, Top Gear and the big screen blockbuster X-Men, and has this week received a national commendation from the British Council for Offices (BCO).
The speculative headquarters office development offers up to 108,200 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation in a central position in the park, directly opposite the locally-known airship hangar landmark structure.
The clients’ expectations were to deliver two high quality, Grade A buildings with flexible floorplates providing potential lettings from half a floor to future possibility of both buildings combined with a link for a single occupant.
Alastair Roberts, at ESA architects explains:
From the outset the team liaised with the local council, our developer client and landscape designers to deliver a building that is sensitive to its surroundings and historic context, but embodies the bold and visionary spirit of the business park in a dynamic design, echoing the energy and history of aviation.
Ultimately the successful office building revolves around the degree of flexibility the design and plan-form offers the occupier as they evolve into their new space and, in years to come, how the building responds to changes of occupier, function and servicing.
Due to the speculative nature of the scheme, the team also had to be mindful that the development may equally be purchased by one large single organisation. The buildings were therefore designed with ultimate flexibility and underground ducts, service runs and future glazed bridge connections were designed and installed to unite them in the future if required.
In their commendation, BCO said:
The project builds upon the architectural and landscape themes developed in earlier phases, but takes an entirely fresh and playful manner. This project can be deemed a success by any standard, but when construction costs are taken into account the development warrants consideration at an altogether higher level.
The elevations are textured, contemporary and dynamic, yet modular and conventionally set out on a 1.5M planning grid. The cladding design, highly visible external steel ‘framework’ and clean roof lines were all developed to give the building a strong sense of identity.
Pinehurst was specifically designed to draw on the idea of movement and technological innovation for which Farnborough is known.
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