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Here + Now (Phase 1)\

Finding moments of wonder and joy in the workplace

The ‘Now’ building, complete as the first phase of the ‘Here + Now’ project, is a refurbishment of two existing office buildings in Reading, providing a range of spaces that respond to the increasing demand for sustainable work environments.

Thames Valley Park has been traditionally home to tech companies and pharmaceutical and medical research businesses, but the workplace offer hasn’t evolved in the last 20 years. As hybrid working becomes more popular following the Covid-19 pandemic, we sought to change the way office spaces are used and perceived.

The Now building is designed as a space for creative and social interaction, with great emphasis given to service and amenities, and flexible spaces.

The building has achieved Net Zero Carbon – both embodied and operational –, BREEAM Outstanding, FitWel 3*, RESET Accredited, Cycling Score Platinum, Wiredscore Platinum, LETI.

The existing building used glass and metal extensively, leaving no clear identity or purpose, with façades that looked corporate and defensive. Meanwhile, the use of colour was minimal and the material palette was cold and formal, despite being situated in a surrounding area rich in plants and trees.

Despite the building benefitting from a large atrium filled with natural light, it felt bland and unwelcoming with few physical connections with outdoor spaces. Within the building, there were no interesting features to look at and the furniture didn’t encourage any activity other than occasional talks and events.

The big idea

Reintroducing the building to nature, our designs connect the building and external areas, establish outdoor amenities around the building, and convert corridors into useful spaces. The building feels more welcoming, as we brought the security line further inside the building.

Pockets of private spaces where people can socialise and work together result from the modular system of furniture. Using natural and warm materials has provided hints of colour, contributing to an informal and welcoming environment.

This also resonates with a generation of professionals who are interested in health and wellbeing, as well as in the provenance and sustainability of materials. A suspended tensile structure within the atrium incorporates lighting and an element of surprise that animates the space.

The small detail

A new coffee shop and designated space for a street market will be offered and tenanted to local businesses, thereby continuing to contribute money to the local economy.

Beehives will now pollinate the surrounding nature, and also offer the opportunity for education seminars to be held about the use of pesticides and herbicides and their impact on biodiversity and pollinators.

Project Summary

  • Project name: Here + Now
  • Location: Reading, UK
  • Value: £5m
  • Type: Refurbishment
  • Clients: Baumont , V7
  • Client: Baumont
  • Status: Complete
  • Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Project Manager/Cost consultant: TFT Consultants

Service/Fire Engineer: Hoare Lea

Sustainability Consultant: Element 4

Structural Engineer: Elliott Wood

Planning Consultant: Urban Space Planning

Branding: Simon Turnbull

Graphic Design: Green Village

Main Contractor: Overbury

Awards

  • BCO Awards 2022 - Innovation - Winner

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