Botanic House

Botanic House

Formation Architects
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Project Year
Morley von Sternberg

Botanic House

Formation Architects as Architects

Botanic House, designed by Formation Architects,has won BCO Midlands and East Anglia Award 2013 in the Commercial workplace category* and is now in the running for the National BCO Awards.

(The British Council for Offices' annual Awards Programme provides public recognition for top quality design and functionality and a benchmark for excellence in workplaces.)

*Commercial workplace Award: rewards a new building initiated on a speculative basis for commercial letting including buildings that are substantially pre-let or sold on to an occupier. In this category only the base build is judged.

Botanic House is the first new speculative office building to be built in the centre of Cambridge for over twenty years and the first of a new wave of office buildings, including Microsoft Cambridge HQ building, which are currently rising along Station Road as part of the CB1 redevelopment scheme. The building, for London developer Pace Investments, was designed by Formation Architects and completed in June 2012.

It has brought much needed high-quality office accommodation to the city centre on a prominent site adjacent to the University Botanic Garden and close to the CB1 business district masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

The office building is Phase 1 of a mixed-use development for the wider site including 156 apartments, retail space and underground parking.

The shape of the building was generated by the curve of the site boundary and as a response to the curved terrace opposite. Great attention has been paid to the elegantly detailed facade made from low-iron, silicon-bonded glazed panels which reflect the trees in the adjacent Botanic Garden. Some of the double glazed panels are printed with a yellow ceramic frit introducing a rhythm and a flash of colour to the elevation.

The building is carefully detailed with crisp oversailing glass edges contrasting with precast concrete panels. Botanic House provides beautiful office space with amazing views of the Botanic Garden and the city centre beyond.

As part of the project, a new public space was created in front of the building which provides benches for passers-by as well as a new setting for the War Memorial.

Client, London developer Johnny Vincent of Pace Investment, talks about the working relationship between architect and developer: ‘I have been lucky enough to have a very close relationship with the design team on this particular project. If you are looking to create something that is just that little bit special, that dynamic has to be there; I thoroughly enjoyed it.’

Builder occupier, Ian Mather, partner of prominent law firm Mills & Reeve is delighted with their new Cambridge HQ and says : ‘This building has done two things, both we are really pleased about : internally, it has given our staff a wonderful environment in which to work; they keep on smiling! Externally, it has been absolutely fantastic in terms of helping us to raise our profile in the business community in Cambridge’.

‘This is the first speculative office building in Cambridge for over 20 years on a prominent site so I think it is fair to say that all eyes were on this project! We are delighted that it has been recognised by the BCO.’ Tim Quick, Director at Formation Architects.

Project facts : The building has been completed to BCO “Category A” level of finish. It provides 4,830 m² (52,000 ft²) net over 7 floors; each floorplate is subdivisible and provides 660 m² (7,100 ft²) net per level, a size of rental space that is in great demand in Cambridge.

The office spaces are serviced with high efficiency variable speed fan coil units. The building has been designed to meet BREEAM “Excellent” standard and achieves an Energy Performance Certificate Level of “B”.

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