The Client’s design criteria for the new multi-agency government office required the accommodation, safety and security arrangements to be to a high standard and achieve an efficient operational workflow. The general principle was to provide flexible and reusable office accommodation suitable for as wide a range of occupants as possible. This implied the provision of regular open plan areas capable of sub-division at construction or at a later date to form mixed or cellular accommodation as required. This was to ensure the building could be used in the long term and be capable of being adapted to the changing operational requirements of the occupier, without unnecessary expense.
The structure needed to be flexible to allow for future remodeling without significant alteration to the structural fabric. An energy efficient, cost effective solution was required for maintenance and day-to-day operation, while providing an aesthetically pleasing external image. Sustainability was considered for both the construction period and permanent operation. Maximising natural daylight was an important consideration for the layout of this office environment, as well as facilitating transparency of operations for both staff and visitors.
Building Fabric: Due to its robustness and low maintenance, and to reflect the contextual area, brick was chosen as the main material for the façade. Rain screen cladding features on all elevations of the building, primarily in conjunction with areas of glazing, to offer future flexibility that could enable additional fenestration with minimum planning amendments. Large windows on the ground floor maximise natural daylight, while at first floor level large feature roof lights filter north light into the DARD office. Rain screen cladding forms the first floor projecting angled windows that offer views out whilst preventing overlooking, as well as the feature corner window of the first floor waiting area above the main entrance. Internally, use of the departments’ corporate colours for feature walls and carpets create a vibrant, welcoming modern office environment whilst subtly defining public and staff areas.
The works conform to the PSNI’s Architectural Liaison Officer’s recommendations and ‘Secured by Design’ principles and guidance and the project has been designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.
Knox & Clayton Architects, throughout the project, consistently worked with us to find innovative solutions to bypass site constraints, whilst ensuring the end product met our requirements and provided flexibility for any eventual end user/s. At all stages of the project they were on hand to listen, take on board our developing requirements and advise on how to incorporate these requirements, whilst still maintaining our overall concept for the scheme.
We are an American owned company with operations in Northern Ireland. We engaged Knox & Clayton’s services to construct our new corporate headquarters in Carrickfergus, overlooking Belfast Lough.