Colindale Offices, the main focus of the Grahame Park regeneration project, was expertly designed by London based architects Hawkins Brown, for client Barnet Council as their new headquarters. Named after their location, these offices were relocated to the Colindale area by the Council, who had identified the district’s need for better building conditions, services and amenities. It was hoped that the relocation of the offices, alongside the construction of 10,000 new homes, would regenerate the area and offer an abundance of opportunities for local business growth.
The main building consists of 10 storeys and 90,000 sqm of office space, including a public café and contact centre. The new office replaced several defunct buildings and allowed the majority of council services to come together under one roof. It was estimated by the council that £1 million would be saved annually in running costs, due to the more cost efficient and connected environment that the Colindale Offices would provide.
Barnet Council’s new location offers improved accessibility to services for the vast majority of local residents, while the purposeful design and build allows for new ways of working, enabling the council to offer better customer service to residents. Situated on the ground floor of the building, the bright and airy café is open 7 days a week to residents, staff and visitors. There are also meeting rooms and conference spaces that are available for public hire.
Since its completion, the building has been shortlisted for the 2019 Brick Awards in the ‘Public’ category.
It was important to the architect that this project served as a significant urban marker and gateway into the newly regenerated area, which could establish its own identity, whilst still tying in with the surrounding context. The design aimed to combine two simple geometric elements: a 4 storey triangular-shaped block and a 10 storey rectangular tower. This combination meant that the roof of the 4 storey element could the utilised to provide an outdoor terrace area for staff and visitors. Two sides of the adjoining tower’s facade would be visible whilst individuals used the roof terrace. This meant the architect had to carefully select a palette of materials they were confident could deliver their desired finish and allow them to incorporate interesting details.
Prior to the Colindale Offices project, Hawkins Brown, Galliford Try and Rosedale Brickwork had worked together on another project; Ivydale Primary School in London. This project was a great success for those involved and went on to win multiple awards. Therefore, after many stages of planning, it was decided that the same bricks would be used for Colindale Offices to create a similar, striking affect. Combined with string courses of stone that wrap the building perimeter at every second storey, the facing brick selected has a brown body, with white and black accents and grey-blue shades; providing a clear distinction from the buff yellow brick used for neighbouring housing schemes. The thoughtful palette of brick and stone materials used has provided the sense of individuality that the architects wanted to achieve, without conflicting with nearby architecture.
The finished project utilises brick piers and panels to frame large glass windows, along with protruding header details in the brickwork, to add a sense of depth and rhythm to the facades. These intricate design details can be observed by staff and visitors when using the roof terrace, as well as by local residents and passers-by at ground level.