Client – Lake District National Park
Lake District National Park Headquarters
Ben Cunliffe Architects were invited to a limited tender to act as the architect for the refurbishment of the authority’s 1980’s-built head office in Kendal.
The brief, and role had to actively satisfy and justify several aspects of work. The design of the refurbishment had to address the unsatisfactory way in which the physical aspects of the building allowed the teams and the departments of the National Park to work.
The aesthetic design, at the specific request of the board of directors, had to present a headquarters building to the public, consultants, and clients of the authority that presented a forward-thinking and progressive image of a National Park; in keeping with the modern requirements of an evolving public authority.
The technical design had to dramatically upgrade the environmental performance, and energy usage, of the building. And, as with all public sector expenditure, the design and the delivery had to deliver very high value for money in justifying the use of public funds.
The overall strategy sought to transform the building, which was wholly cellular small offices, into part Open Plan; with recesses, alcoves and areas that broke up the main spaces allowing interaction, and yet private space for individual workstations. In partly opening up this double-aspect building, natural light largely replaced artificial intumescent lighting, meaning that large areas of the building now no longer need the lights on during the day.
Workstations were divided through the creation of storage walls and columns, whilst retaining line-of-sight between workstations and department heads.
The original brief which was headed “Open Plan” by the client was initially received with great scepticism by some of the building’s users. The delivered scheme, a hybrid of open plan and cellular, was extremely well-received, and has resulted in exactly the working environment that the directors and the building users hoped-for.