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Friday, March 28, 2008

New HQ for City of York Council

RMJM unveils first images
The proposed development will bring together nearly 1,500 council staff who are currently spread across 16 offices in the city. The consolidation of the council’s office accommodation will offer significant savings for the city and will release a number of historic buildings. Designed by UK-based, international architects RMJM, the headquarters building aims to be sustainable in terms of its economic, social and environmental impact and uses a number of low or zero carbon technologies. The plans, which hope to go before the planning council in April 2008, were inspired by the architectural richness of York, from the delicate to the distinct. Architects RMJM embraced the opportunity to design a building in such a challenging, historical context. Chris Jones, RMJM’s Project Director, commented: “This is a great opportunity for RMJM to work within the rich and diverse historic city of York for a progressive local authority to create a contemporary and sustainable public building.” The new building will sit on the edge of the city’s historic center and is part of the wider Hungate redevelopment. Environmental sustainability was a priority throughout the design development and the project team came up with a unique way to celebrate the sustainable technology proposed for the building. The technology required for environmental components such as rain water harvesting will be housed in a ‘bio-tower’ adjacent to the main building. This unique feature celebrates the sustainable aspirations of the development as well as acting as a modern day campanile, a type of tower historically associated with civic buildings. The York project aims to better the Building Regulations CO2 emissions requirements by 30 per cent and include 20 per cent on-site renewable energy generation. The decision to create new headquarters for the Council was made following an independent review of the existing office accommodation which concluded that a large proportion of the buildings are outdated, disjointed and unsuitable for office accommodation. The current accommodation also presented a real constraint on the authority's ability to respond to the changing needs of its customers, modernize the organization and meet current Disability Discrimination Act legislation. The new building aims to be customer focussed, incorporating a fully integrated face to face Customer Center and access for customers with disabilities. The headquarters are expected to be complete in 2010.

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