55 Colmore Row and Alpha Works triumph at BCO annual Midlands and Central England awards

55 Colmore Row Reception

55 Colmore Row and Alpha Works have been recognised as two of the best workplaces in the Midlands and Central England at the annual British Council for Offices’ (BCO) regional awards, held yesterday (26th April) at Birmingham Town Hall. The prestigious BCO Awards programme recognises the highest quality developments in the UK and sets the standard for excellence in the regional and national office sector.

55 Colmore Row was awarded Best Refurbished / Recycled Workplace. The office was designed by Perkins + Will and is occupied by Pinsent Masons. Alpha Works, designed by Orms and occupied by a number of businesses, was presented with the award for Projects up to 1,500m².

The Grade II listed 55 Colmore Row, one of Birmingham’s most prestigious business addresses, triumphed in the Refurbished / Recycled Workplace category. The BCO judging panel noted that circulation and flow through the entrance hall has been greatly improved with the introduction of a bridge link and a consolidation of the lifts to a single location, whilst the project has added a further 16% of net internal area, including an additional top floor. The judges also highlighted the many challenges overcome by the developer, including the successful incorporation of the building’s original Victorian banking hall and existing stone facades into the finished office. Overall, it was praised for providing a stunning building for modern occupiers, and securing significant pre-lets during construction.

Alpha Works, winner of the Projects up to 1,500m2 category, offers occupiers a workplace that the judges felt had not previously been available outside of London. Nestled high up in Birmingham’s Alpha building, the Grade II listed landmark has undergone extensive refurbishment and now houses high quality workspaces. With 14,000 sq. ft. on the 21st and 22nd floors, the judges agreed that Alpha Works provides exceptional serviced office accommodation with unrivalled views across the city. A key factor of the workplace’s success is the simplicity of the design which maximises flexibility. The judges felt that Alpha Works has delivered a prototype for a regional serviced office space.

Rob van Zyl, Building Services Partner at Cundall and Chair of Midland & Central England Judging Panel, said: “From creating spaces for Cambridge’s thriving science and technology sector, to housing iconic corporates across the region – the workplaces that won the regional awards this year are truly diverse. What these winning workplaces have in common is how they’ve used innovative office design to truly transform the way occupying businesses have operated. Throughout, these projects have also kept employee wellness in mind, for example by incorporating natural sunlight or by making the most of iconic views of the surrounding local landscape.”

Rob Groves, Regional Director of Argent and Chairman of the BCO Midlands & East Anglia Committee added: “A clear theme has emerged from entries across the region this year – delivering excellence in the face of challenging conditions. This includes everything from working around busy or short time frames for development, considering the public environment, or refitting historic, and often iconic, local buildings. Our entrants not only navigated these challenges but used them to their advantage, maximising unusual features of old buildings in new designs and seamlessly linking developments in busy areas with public thoroughfares and train stations. The awards are a clear reflection of the strength of our local offices sector, and the talent that’s capable of making the most of what our geographically and economically diverse region has to offer.”

Other workplaces across the Midlands and Central England that received recognition include:

  • One Friargate, Coventry (Winner, Best Corporate Workspace)
  • Cambridgeshire’s One Station Square, Cambridge (Winner, Best Commercial Workplace)
  • ASOS’s Contact Centre, Watford (Winner, Best Fit Out of a Workplace)

This is the tenth year that the Regional Awards have been presented locally in the Midlands, celebrating excellence in office space regionally, before all winners go on to compete at a national level at the National Awards in October.