Box Architects are helping bring five government departments under one roof in Darlington
We’ve been working with Wates Smartspace on the fit-out and refurbishment of Feethams House in Darlington. It’s part of the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda to spread jobs and opportunities more equally across the UK.
There are already more than 100 HM Treasury staff in the building, with staff from four other departments set to join them:
- Department for International Trade
- Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
- Office for National Statistics
- Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Feethams House had previously been used as a Covid-19 vaccination centre – an appropriate use for a new development that had been unoccupied since completion at the start of the pandemic.
Box were appointed as Wates’ design-and-build architects to transform the empty interior into a range of flexible, accessible and secure spaces for the government departments.
“Security was a key design criteria, as you’d expect from a building housing so many government departments,” said Box’s senior architectural technologist, Chris Slinn. “The specification was driven by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and included highly secure partitions and glazed screens, and high-security doors.
“But we also had to consider the wellbeing of staff, and the stresses of moving back into an office environment after working remotely during the pandemic.”
The fit-out incorporates a blend of private work spaces, meeting rooms and collaborative break-out areas, as well as quiet spaces to help staff ease back into office life. Chris added: “We designed with neurodiversity and inclusivity very much in mind, with clear wayfinding, use of colour and a range of different types of spaces to help support employees and their work over the course of the day. The idea is to have offices that are accessible to all without it feeling that it was designed as an accessible space.”
We also had to consider the wellbeing of staff, and the stresses of moving back into an office environment after working remotely during the pandemic.
Chris Slinn, Senior architectural technologist, Box Architects