Northern buildings recognised for excellence

The highlights include 1 The Avenue being named as Best Commercial Workplace, with judges praising the creation of not only an iconic gateway building to Spinningfields, but also a unique working environment appropriate to niche occupiers, making for a significant contribution to the office market in Manchester.

International law firm Pinsent Mason’s Manchester offices at No. 3 Hardman Street in Spinningfields won the award for Best Fit-out of Workplace, which saw the firm merge two offices into one larger open plan space, and was commended as an excellent example of how a business can work with designers to create a more flexible and dynamic working environment.

The Information Systems Services Building (ISS) at Lancaster University was named Best Corporate Workplace and was praised for being a ‘bold architectural statement’ on campus. The judges felt that the building was a subtle and clever response to a work environment where the richness of workplace takes precedence. The open spaces, natural light and ability to mix and meet other staff, both formally and informally, make this building stand out from the rest. The judges went on to add that the client body at the University should be commended for continuing to create pioneering workplaces for pioneering research.

Broad Gate, at 22-26 The Headrow in Leeds was named Best Refurbished/Recycled Workplace, with judges praising the building as ‘heroic’ for halting the building’s decline in recent years. They noted that Highcross has been exceptionally bold in finishing the incomplete 1930s building and creating a spectacular office area wrapped around an atrium.

Cooper’s Studios on Westgate Road in Newcastle upon Tyne was named Best Project up to 2,000m² for its transformation of a derelict horse-carriage sales room complete with stables into a phenomenal studio workspace with character that is, according to the judges, "hard to find". The judges praised the simple and honest refurbishment, which made the most of the original features, leaving the two-storey space open. They noted a major feature is the use of both natural and artificial lighting which helps to highlight the quality of the oval, central two storey space and roof-space.

BCO Judge Neil Taylor said: "The focus of the BCO awards is to judge buildings from a multi-disciplinary point of view, focussing on aspects such as architectural flair, economic and sustainable construction with fitness for purpose for users of the space. We had a very high standard of entries this year from the North of England, North Wales and Northern Ireland that have really delivered fantastic workspaces for the end user and I’d like to congratulate our winners."

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