Scottish Public Pensions Agency, SPPA, Galashiels, Office, SPPA Galashiels

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Scottish Public Pensions Agency HQ : SPPA Offices

Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) HQ, Galashiels – design by RMJM

SPPA Galashiels

Scottish Public Pensions Agency : Rural HQ scoops major award

SPPA – Building information from RMJM Architects Oct 2003

SPPA Galashiels
Scottish Public Pensions Agency HQ, Galashiels: image from RMJM

The headquarters for the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA), which opened for business at the beginning of this year, have been awarded a commendation by the British Council for Offices (BCO).

The development, situated on the banks of the river Tweed outside Galashiels, was awarded a commendation under the BCO’s regional competition for best corporate workplace. The 3,000m2 single storey building, designed by architects and engineers RMJM, was commissioned in response to the Scottish Executive’s relocation policy, which aims to create public sector job opportunities across Scotland.

RMJM’s scheme was designed as a model for out-of-town work places and to provide the 170 civil servants with a pleasant and stimulating working environment. The completed building meets very high standards of sustainability in addition to a form and the use of materials that respect its rural setting.

The ambitious environmental aims of the scheme were achieved through the use of recycled materials such as newspaper-based cellulose insulation and renewable materials including timber for windows, doors and external cladding. RMJM’s team also specified an efficient energy strategy for the building including the use of solar collectors and natural ventilation and lighting. A unique aspect of the scheme is a green roofing system made with sedum matting which provides excellent thermal insulation and high rainwater retention. This, coupled with a pond feature, a pervious, self-draining car park, the use of indigenous plant landscaping, helps to limit the building’s impact on the local environment and substantially improve the biodiversity of the site.

The design also provides a fully accessible building for all disabled requirements thanks to the single storey form and the inclusion of elements such as induction loops and colour and tonal distinctions. The workspace is shared between varying scales of open-plan office accommodation allowing workers to benefit from discreet working zones as well as breakout spaces and convivial communal areas.

"We are delighted to have received this award, RMJM’s fifth BCO office award in five years. Our building is quite different in its forms than all the other awarded with its emphasis on natural lighting and ventilation, low energy and biodiversity," commented RMJM director Mick Duncan, "importantly to us, RMJM also provided all the other skills – building services, civil and structural engineering and landscape architecture, which enabled us to design a well-integrated building, constructed by Hart, on time and on budget."

The British Council for Offices’ was established in 1990 and is the UK’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office industry. The annual awards programme, now in its 12th year, recognises quality design and rewards examples of excellence in office space across the country.

RMJM’s designs for the office sector have previously been recognised by the BCO including awards for New Zealand House in London, the Glaxo Wellcome World HQ in Greenford and developments in Edinburgh for Scottish & Newcastle and Standard Life.

SPPA HQ – Building image / information from RMJM Architects 9 Oct 2003



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