The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) manages hydrographic and geospatial data for the Royal Navy which in turn saves lives at sea. Together with other national hydrographic offices, they specialise in hydrography, cartography and navigation.
It’s been a long time coming, but finally, Taunton’s New UK Hydrographic Office has been completed. The state-of-the-art building, situated next to their current offices, is a joy for the eyes and is now opening its doors for the staff to move in and map the future of the organisation.
Housing 850 employees, the building is not only environmentally friendly in its materials and construction but is visually stunning too. The fluid lines and the vast open spaces are incredibly inductive to a wonderful new way of working, collaborating and creating together.
The nature of the new environment will see the use of not only smarter ways of working but also new technologies, progressive office practices and collaboration.
This innovative building has 700 office desks in an open plan space with flexible floor plans, creating multiple areas for meetings, places for employees to relax, eat their lunch and even hold informal meetings as well as collaboration centres.
The UKHO’s wish was to encourage a ‘one team’ approach, in contrast to their current building layout. The architects have created two wings either side of a central atrium with open platforms and connecting catwalks creating a visual and actual link between all areas of the building and a sense of openness for such a large structure.
Workers will also enjoy the sustainable features that include high ceilings and glass to encourage the flooding of natural daylight. The atrium roof is made entirely of glass with roof lights which open to allow natural ventilation. There are fluid panels providing shading and reducing glare to the offices below by diffusing sunlight and creating a consistent level of daylight. Long winter days will appear less dark as staff can enjoy natural light during their working day.
This wonderful new building has been produced to propel UKHO into the future, by creating a happy working space for its staff. Let's hope more companies embrace this practice, and we will see an improvement in staff productivity and retention across multiple industries. Collaboration will be a key work practice in this new office space, which can only be another inspiring practice to be championed as well as renewable environment awareness.