Eversheds LLP Headquarters
WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL AWARDS SUBMISSION INTERIORS AND FIT-OUT – OFFICES PROJECT NAME: EVERSHEDS LLP HEADQUARTERS LOCATION: ONE WOOD STREET, LONDON, EC2V 7WS, UK INTERIOR DESIGNERS: WOODS BAGOT As the UK’s largest legal practice (based on number of fee earners), Eversheds sought to establish itself as the pre-eminent law firm within the City. The move to a new 15,860 square metre, 8 story Headquarters building in central London was to provide the 750 person contingent with an environment comparable with its city peers and support the strategic growth plans associated with the anticipated rise in ranking as a city law firm. As a result, the new offices were to reflect and provide a: •Culture as a friendly, non-hierarchical, collegiate, and open firm. •Client centric focus by providing a ‘first class experience’. •Vibrant, healthy and sustainable workplace to retain and attract best talent. •Flexible, adaptable and efficient work platform that allows teams to grow and contract. •Improve business efficiency through the use of new technologies and new ways of working. •Space that improves team working, collaboration whilst preserving the requirement for confidentiality and privacy. •Value for money solution. •Unify the City office culture with that of Eversheds’ regional offices. Through the careful consideration of this brief and the consequent successful delivery of the project, the following are highlights of the design that we feel made a major contribution to the success of the project: The Hybrid ‘Studio’ solution Eversheds’ required a solution that offered both the communication and team-working benefits of open plan and the privacy and peace of cellular - while being adaptable and responsive to bespoke departmental configurations. Finally, after 9 months of research, development and trials, this new prototype for future legal offices was born - The ‘Hybrid Studio’. Studios can seat two, four or six staff members depending on team size and are formed by furniture components and glazing rather than floor to ceiling partitions. Consequently, all staff benefit from natural light as opposed to only the office-users in the old cellular model. This penetration of natural light allows fee-earners to be placed deeper in the floor plate space, and not restricted to a perimeter location, allowing greater potential for growth. Achieving the BREEAM “Excellent” rating To accompany the largest sedum roof in The City of London, the design team’s intervention has elevated the BREEAM rating from ‘Very Good’ at base-build handover to ‘Excellent’ upon completion of the fit-out. Enhancements included a multi-service chilled-beam system, saving over 15% of carbon emissions, integrated LED lighting, major leak detection, zoned daylight sensors and programmable absence detection to the general working floors. The project also specified certified timbers, locally-sourced, renewable products and materials, and reused furniture. We have recently been informed that this project is the first example of a fit-out elevating a BREEAM rating in the UK. Acoustic Modelling Lawyers must have the ability to read detailed information in relative quiet and be concise and succinct whilst communicating with their team and support staff. With this requirement in mind, a virtual acoustic model was built and the client was invited to experience the space from several points around the virtual office. Acoustic masking, or ‘pink noise’, via concealed speakers was then implemented to augment the acoustic conditions of the space and allow for concentrated working. Decentralisation of Support Services The re-location to new office space afforded the opportunity to re-assess the position and implementation of key support services. At One Wood Street, business support components have been strategically spread across all floors in a vertical nature to ensure that information was accessed easily. Filing clerks are floor dependant and have adequate ‘staging areas’ for movement of filing boxes in order to keep the floors clean. The quantity of printers have been reduced by 47% and placed conveniently around the internal zones promoting energy savings as well as reducing paper consumption via printing on demand via personal key coding and electronic scanning systems being introduced. Using technology to create mobile working Lawyers are generally indoctrinated into believing that if they are not working at their desk then they are not charging hours to the client. Although only a modest percentage of the fee - earners are engaged in utilising the new technologies currently installed into the new HQ and positively adapting to the new infrastructure. This advance in technology has allowed the lawyers to truly utilise the ‘third spaces’ in the office, including the ability to assemble and relocate to team areas while remaining connected to clients. Multi-service Chilled Beam A further advance, facilitated by the studio concept, has been the development of the active chilled beam which has radically changed the performance the office space from a sustainability angle. As part of the drive to improve efficiency, this technology is saving Eversheds over 7% in running costs plus offers over 50% saving in maintenance costs as the system has very few moving parts and is easily accessible. This bespoke beam has integrated lighting has also been connected to an intelligent building management system with absence detection and daylight sensors tracking the natural daylight levels and adjusting as required. We believe the true success of this project was firstly down to a fantastic client that understood the virtue of challenging convention with the power of innovation; and secondly, to an extremely successful collaborative process amongst the client, the contractor and the design team. Woods Bagot was also appointed early enough to develop the brief and understand how Eversheds’ corporate values could be harmoniously portrayed within the built environment. The opportunity to intervene on the base-build design and take a ‘shell and core’ option meant that fit-out enhancements could be seamlessly integrated with the building envelope, ensuring the inhabitants experience could begin from street level and progress through the building, with all of the design elements producing a coordinated narrative throughout the space. We believe the resulting space is one of spatial harmony, progressive, delightful and appropriate aesthetics, and a paragon of workplace efficiency.

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