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Commercial property: Top accolades for Brum office developments.

Byline: By Steve Pain Commercial Property Editor

Two of Birmingham's landmark developments have landed top accolades in the annual British Council for Offices awards.

The Mailbox building at BBC Birmingham was named 'Best of the Best' in the awards, now in their 14th year, based on its office fit-out.

And the core building at Brindleyplace was named winner of the Commercial Workplace category in the Midlands and East Anglia region.

The Mailbox was selected from five national winners that in turn were picked from winners of regional competitions.

Judges said: 'The Mailbox base space was far from normal and the BBC made a courageous stand to go to this mixed-use wonder.

'Designer BDP's success can be measured against the challenge they faced from Mailbox's mail sorting office ancestry.

'The standard of fit-out is very high; all elements display imagination, but also great discipline.

'The building is full of dynamism and light. A sense of openness is created by vast internal spaces, carried outwards by cutting huge windows across the front of the shell.

'Extra space was conjured from thin air by floating mezzanine 'gondolas' within the hangar-like sell.

'Over a narrow band, they reduce ceilings below BCO standards but this has been overcome on the upper level with a clever 'wavy' ceiling making the most of space and hiding existing structure and environment-friendly chilled beams.'

The core building at Brindleyplace - Seven, Eight and Ten - is occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which relocated some 2,000 staff to the city centre when it took occupation last winter.

Judges said: 'Developer Argent showed great enterprise to meet the requirement for 26,000 sq m of office space, especially in linking two un-built buildings to an existing one to create the final piece in the regeneration jigsaw.

'The technical complexities were huge.

'The development team had to adapt designs to provide level floors throughout, linking three independent blocks and provide access and fire escapes for the combined space.

'At the same time the individual buildings' difference in external elevation treatment were retained, reducing the perceived overall mass in the context of Brindleyplace as a whole.'

Gary Taylor, director of Argent, said: 'This is a great way to end the year - 12 months in which we've finished construction at the estate, welcomed RBS and celebrated our tenth birthday. We acknowledge at Brindleyplace that if a workforce is to be ultimately successful, people must be given the highest quality and most flexible building environment from which to deliver their business.'
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 13, 2005
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