RCKa has completed the refurbishment and extension of a research facility in Hampshire for De La Rue, the world’s largest integrated commercial bank note printer, to create a world-class technology center.
Consolidating existing research activities from across the company into a single location, RCKa’s refurbishment and extension of an existing 1980s office building provides new laboratory accommodation, write-up space and visitors’ area for De La Rue’s R&D team. The 2000 sq m building provides a highly secure research facility, however it is designed to ensure security aspects do not dominate the architecture.
Located within De La Rue's production plant at Overton Mill on the southern edge of an Area of Great Landscape Value and in the depths of the Hampshire countryside, the existing building is the first to be visible to visitors to the site. It was therefore crucial to provide a striking initial impression that reflected the cutting edge technology within the building.Distinguished by the use of deep reveals on the primary elevation, which in addition to providing a degree of shading in the summer months, also creates a highly sculptural form that responds to the movement of the sun throughout the day.
Sited on a steep slope, the entrance has been relocated to the north side of the building on the mid level, removing an awkward and convoluted external stair that previously dominated the south elevation.The new three-storey extension to the south-east elevation of the existing building features secure laboratory accommodation and visitors' suite on the ground and first floors, with open-plan offices and write-up space on the top level.
The relocation of research and write-up spaces to the top floor of the building encourages scientists to leave their labs and interact with one another outside of the secure laboratory environment. The new open-plan write-up spaces provide a collaborative and creative social environment with a series of flexible areas. Full-height glazing floods the space with natural daylight, providing dramatic views of the surrounding countryside.
Constance Baroudel, Group Director Strategy and Business Development,De La Rue commented, “In a year in which De La Rue celebrates its 200th anniversary we remain committed to continued innovation. We are therefore delighted with our new technology center at our Overton site which provides both the facilities and the environment that will allow our R&D team to thrive.”
Russell Curtis, Director, RCKa said, “We're extremely proud to have helped De La Rue realize the full potential of their existing office building. The success of the project is testament to the hard work and vision of both the client and project team, and will enable De La Rue to continue to build on their proud history of innovation."