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Designscape Architects

Designscape Architects Bath Brewery Toll Bridge Road Bath BA1 7DE


01225 858500

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About Designscape

Designscape Architects are an award winning independent studio based in Bath: working on projects throughout the Southwest, UK and Europe. Our broad experience includes; new, existing and Listed Buildings for living, work and pleasure. Clients include public and private organisations and individuals. Many are end user occupiers. Recent projects include; a new production, storage and HQ office facility for Exactaform Cutting Tools, Coventry;

new build art store, production and exhibition building for Damien Hirst, Stroud; a new waste to energy plant for Crapper and Sons, Swindon; new HQ office extension to existing production facility, Seco Tools, Bourges France. Designscape are also currently engaged in an ongoing research project concerning new typologies for large buildings, utilising advances in parametric design, construction and system integration. 

Introduction What is the purpose of this document? Clients undertake building projects for a variety of reasons, but generally to fulfil at least one specific need; need for growth, relocation, expansion to a new location, problems or inadequacies with an existing premises, changing needs or requirements for the users. The scale and type of project can vary significantly and each project will to a greater or lesser degree have unique characteristics. Nevertheless with each and every project there is the potential opportunity not only to fulfil a specific immediate need, but to consider improvements to benefit the wider organisation or users as a whole as a result of the process of change already anticipated. This document is intended to provide a primer to explore the scope for improvement on the basis that existing arrangements need not necessarily be the optimum solution for future activities. During the early stages of project development, it is unlikely that detailed requirements for specific rooms and departments can be identified, these will emerge through design and briefing development, however it should be possible to identify high level, strategic aspirations and opportunities and consider which may be appropriate or desirable at the start of the project. 

This document is intended to provide a primer to explore the scope for improvement on the basis that existing arrangements need not necessarily be the optimum solution for future activities.

Brief Considerations holistic design








Business Values Underpinning many decisions associated with a new building project are the business values which define the ethos of the company, how it operates and the culture of those occupying the spaces. Clarity in this area is important in underpinning decisions regarding the design of the project. Things to consider: 

Capital Versus Revenue Expenditure Most developer constructed buildings are designed to minimise initial capital cost. End user building clients and occupiers are more concerned with ongoing running costs; heating, cooling and maintenance. Designing with consideration for whole life cycle costs can result in quite different building solutions. How long do you plan to occupy the building? How does this inform the project budget?

Wellbeing For businesses which employ a large number of people, staffing costs can represent one of the largest costs to the business. Creating an environment which people like to be in is usually beneficial in terms of productivity, staff retention and reducing absenteeism. This environment needs to work in terms of space, temperature and daylight. It may include the provision of particular additional staff facilities: Canteen, gym, break out spaces. Understanding the needs of staff is essential.

Sustainability Most local authorities will apply sustainability targets to any new development, some businesses have higher targets, either as a result of existing or anticipated obligations to customers as part of framework agreements or as part of a corporate social responsibility commitment. What standard is appropriate for the project? Is there a business case for pursuing any particular aspects?

Flexibility Change is an inevitable feature of most businesses. How might change within the business by accommodated by the building? How far can this be anticipated? Inherent flexibility in the design will help the building to maintain its value.

Science studios, Designscape Architects, 2012

Culture How can the design of the building have a beneficial impact on a good team working culture? Integration of staff doing diverse jobs as part of a team e.g. crossover between office, production and warehouse staff.

Cost versus Quality versus Speed These competing values need to be balanced in determining the optimum building solution.

Exactaform, Designscape Architects, 2017

Siting Has a specific site been identified? An initial coverage exercise will be required to assess likely site capacity and compatibility. · Location · Size and shape · Access · Planning status/ land use · Topography · Adjacent land uses · Ecology/Trees · Existing infrastructure/statutory services Site coverage will likely primarily consist of building, delivery service yard and car park, possibly split between staff and visitors. There will also be an element of soft planting and hard landscaping. Organisation of these elements upon the site will need to be designed and is subject to site specifics, including topography, orientation, neighbours, site geometry; however the balance of these provides an opportunity to present the business’ priorities and ethos. Things to consider:

Site security A secure service yard is a requirement for many businesses; an open car park may present a more welcoming character for visitors, but may not be appropriate for all circumstances.

Service Yard Primarily designed around the movements of different delivery vehicles using level and dock access. Vehicle movement numbers need to be considered along with any additional requirement for goods vehicle parking or other external storage requirements.

Seco, Bourges, France, Designscape Architects

Car park capacity This will be guided by staff numbers to a limit defined by the Local Authority.

Soft Landscaping Usually either a planning or estate management requirement, boundary planting is one component. Structured external spaces for staff breakout, meeting or even working can be beneficial for staff wellbeing and productivity. The landscape is often an integral part of the building works – e.g. managing surface water runoff and will contribute to local biodiversity objectives.

Building Identity Does the building present an opportunity for advertising or presenting corporate values? Does the building have many visitors?

Division of parking and delivery vehicles Clearly a health and safety priority. Can visitors find the front entrance? Is a large expanse of car parking or service yard the first thing you wish visitors to see? 

Does the company have or want a valuable public identity?

Public Areas Not all buildings have or need a public face; in some cases this is specifically not desired. However for most businesses, there is a need to accommodate visitors, customers or suppliers. The extent of this need varies between organisations and the part the building plays in defining the relationship between business and visitor needs to be defined. Things to consider:


Who are your visitors? Visitor numbers and frequency? What experience is planned for visitors? Specific facilities? Security and privacy issues.

Exactaform, Designscape Architects, 2017 11

Technical Spaces Where the project includes technical space; production, warehouse, distribution etc. as a significant part of the building, the plan, form and servicing of this space needs to be coordinated with the specialist technical requirements of the intended use. It should be anticipated that the fit-out of this space will change during the lifespan of the building and occupation by the commissioning organisation. As a result future flexibility should be factored into the design. Other considerations include:

Specific size requirements – height, column centres and clear span, possibly to accommodate large features or equipment. To coordinate with racking modules? How might these spaces relate to other activities within the building? Is separation or connectivity required? Specialist servicing – cooling, humidity, heating or fire controls. Self-contained or part of the building systems? Can daylight be used within the building? Are there opportunities for heat recovery? Access for vehicles and personnel? Occupation in use – staff numbers. Fire protection and escape requirements. Security specifics. IT requirements Efficiency of circulation vs maximizing racking and storage . 12

Exactaform, Designscape Architects, 2017

..the fit-out of this space will change during the lifespan of the building and occupation by the commissioning organisation. As a result future flexibility should be factored into the design. .


Workspaces There is a further requirement for work spaces to promote the activities of the business and support those taking place within the technical space. This could include: office space for management, administration, sales, purchasing, etc. along with reception, canteen, showroom and photographic studio space. These parts of the building are likely to be the most densely occupied by staff. Most organisations benefit from an audit of existing workspace activities to inform and optimise the space planning and relationship of new areas. Other considerations:

Relationships between departments. Is physical communication between departments important or beneficial? Opportunities for ‘Activity Based Working’ a contemporary concept that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities. How fluid is the size of various departments? If one department grows in relationship to another, workspace churn can be disruptive especially if there is a change in floor level involved potentially splitting a department. 14

Communal Spaces These are the spaces which link various parts of the building and are not necessarily designated to specific departments. As well as formal spaces such as canteen, meeting rooms and reception, there may also be shared facilities and break out areas where staff can interact. Provision of an attractive canteen area can be a worthwhile investment for the business as it encourages staff to remain on site, can function as a useful break out meeting area and space in which to entertain visitors and promote the business as well as contributing generally to staff well being, recruitment, retention and

Exactaform, Designscape Architects, 2017 15

Building form The form of the building will result from the briefing considerations previously outlined.

Structure The form of structure will be greatly influenced by the requirements of the brief, especially the technical areas, where clear spans and column centres are likely to be a significant design perimeter. 16

Park Grounds, Designscape Architects

Envelope Specific functional requirements can significantly affect the performance and appearance of the building. The exterior can be tuned to meet the developed specification. Appearance can be a significant factor (or not) in determining the design outcome.

Size and shape Clearly a function of the building requirement and site constraints , this may also be affected by the possible integration of renewal energy systems.

More than one building? More than one building? Enclosing all functions within one building envelope is generally more efficient in terms of construction, but may represent a compromise in usability. Deep plan office space or multi level accommodation can be problematic. Co-joined or entirely independent office and technical buildings can be an option and may suit some sites better than others.

Materials Choice of materials will be influenced by various factors, but as an example, engineered timber can be more cost effective than steel for spans greater than 12m. It also requires less maintenance (25yrs in service class 1 conditions) and has better fire performance characteristics. It can be considered to have a superior appearance and ‘feel’ than steel. It is lighter (less foundation required) and is more sustainable.





4 Energy and food self sufficient town, Wiltshire. Designscape Architects - Concept / research project design for a scheme to use surplus waste and CO2 from waste to energy plant to create a food and energy self sufficient town. 18

Conclusion Business values Determine the wider business values to inform content and specification for the building.







Siting Utilise the site to serve the priorities of the business and widest functions of the development.

Work spaces Determine the spaces and inter relationships needed to fulfil the various activities of the workplace.


Public areas Understand the relationship between building, visitors and wider public.

Communal spaces Find ways to encourage better working relationships.


Technical spaces The largest element of the brief will have the biggest impact upon the result building. Coordinated understanding required.

Building form Should be a reflection of the whole brief.

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BRIEFING DOCUMENT Designscape Architects

Profile for lsdscape

Designscape Briefing Document - Organisations  

Designscape Briefing Document - Organisations  

Profile for lsdscape

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