Forming part of the first phase of the GHA-designed New Garden Square masterplan, NGS One will sit proudly as the welcome building behind the main public square, setting a new benchmark for office design in this part of the city.
NGS One has been designed to be a contemporary building in contrast to the surrounding period and mid-to-late twentieth century properties. The design incorporates large windows to maximise light and views out to the surrounding trees and gardens, enveloped in a dark metal veil which sits above a double-height colonnade from which the double-height reception lobby is accessed. Exposed smooth concrete columns running the full length of the gardens at ground floor provide an honest expression of the building’s structural frame above, which is based on an efficient nine metre by nine metre grid.
One of the key design principles has been to maximise the benefits of the gardens and trees through ‘biophilic design’ in addition to the extensive landscaped setting of the masterplan. Starting at the ground floor reception lobby, a vertical garden runs up through the front elevation which provides private external amenity space for the occupants and is accessible from every floor to provide an alternative workspace or place of retreat. The building is also designed to accommodate a roof garden in future should there be the demand.
The building provides approximately 12,820 square metres of Grade A office space over eight floors, with generous ground floor retail space which benefits from direct access to the gardens. Typical floors vary between approximately 1,400 square metres to over 1,850 square metres, providing a range of sizes which are capable of being sub-divided for maximum flexibility. Dedicated car parking is provided in the undercroft level which is accessed via Duchess Road at the rear to keep traffic away from the gardens. The building will also accommodate extensive cycle storage, lockers and showering facilities to ensure that the occupants can cycle or run to work rather than driving or using public transport.
The façade design of NGS One has been thoroughly considered down to the setting out of each joint. The language of dark metalwork on the exterior provides definition and depth to the elevations and reflects the ideal 1.5 metre internal space planning grid. High performance glazing system and latest mechanical heating or cooling systems allows the level of glass to be maximised to benefit the occupants, whilst still providing a significant reduction in carbon emissions against the current regulations.
Overall, NGS One will be a striking, contemporary building to anchor the NGS Masterplan, providing an elegant backdrop to the trees and gardens rather than competing with it. The quality of detailing and materials will set a precedent for future phases, as will the benefits of biophilic office design in terms of health and well-being.