Six of the seven floors of the existing Balloon Street headquarters were dedicated to office space and over time had evolved into unplanned collections of desks with no clearly defined circulation routes. Churn costs relating to the growth or shrinking of teams were high, and it was difficult to find your way around the building.
The main entrance and reception were located to the north of the Ground Floor, adjacent to a branch of the bank in the centre and a retail outlet to the south. The reception was cramped and gave access to just one of the two cores via two lifts, which created circulation problems. Although the stairs were accessible, it was via a complex route through three sets of doors and back of house areas.
what we did
Having worked with the bank for many years, we understood its strategic objectives very clearly, which informed our designs. Initially, we made the radical suggestion of relocating the bank branch to the north. This would allow a more natural, central main entrance giving access to both north and south cores. Ultimately, the bank decided to relocate the branch elsewhere, which created space for a larger reception and staff café on the ground floor.
Our layout for the rest of the building optimised the space and allowed staff changes to be accommodated by relocating people rather than furniture. This minimised churn costs and prevented organic growth causing an imbalance in how the space is used.
We positioned breakout areas, hot desk zones and meeting rooms centrally on each floor. This gave easy access to them and allows permanent desks to be placed on the perimeter where there’s more natural light.
Adding stores, cloakroom space, communications rooms and a storage wall around the cores enabled us to incorporate ramps for much-needed raised access floors. Shared printing and copying areas were located on main circulation routes and alternative work settings and informal meeting areas were positioned throughout each floor to break up open plan areas of desks and reduce pressure on meeting rooms.
The ground floor is much more welcoming for staff and visitors and allows people to move swiftly to where they need to be. The rest of the building now operates far more efficiently and provides a variety of pleasant spaces to work and meet colleagues. The scheme is also designed to significantly reduce churn costs and the disruption of moving workstations.