Hounslow Civic Centre Middlesex, UK
Sheppard Robson, working with Linkcity, won the project in competition in 2015 that would reposition the Hounslow's Council HQ to a site next to the borough’s main high street. This was an opportunity to not only make a significant addition to the townscape but also to create a beacon that announced the arrival of improved, environmentally efficient public amenities, with the centre’s civic function clear both to people using the building and passers-by.
A clear primary navigation was key to stitching together the building’s public-facing services with the office and ceremonial spaces. The staircase – bold and sculptural – was designed as a ribbon that flows up the centre of the building, with the underside lined in a prominent magenta colour to emphasise the route through the building.The faceted form of the stairs – a nod to the building’s façade – is an example of the interior and architecture teams working in tandem to create a consistent language inside and out. Further drama and vertical expression is created through a linear light installation that hangs in the atrium’s void.
The brief was to create a variety of work places that support the council’s move to agile working. The predominant ‘work smart’ desks were maximised at the perimeter to benefit from natural light. Collaboration work spaces and amenity spaces are positioned around the atrium, providing an acoustic buffer and assisting to create an open environment that weaves together the bustle of the public spaces and the quietness required for the library and office floors.
Whilst many of the spaces remain neutral in colour, so as to not be affiliated with a particular political party, there are accents of colour such as the magenta on the staircase and the meeting rooms found throughout the workplaces. The result are spaces which, with high levels of physical connection and visual permeability, fuse together numerous activities – from special ceremonial occasions to an informal coffee with friends – which help shape the future of this progressive London borough.