Greater Manchester Police Force HQ
Community investment as a catalyst for future regeneration
The headquarters for the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) brings a strong, iconic civic identity, forming a vital component in the future growth of one of Manchester’s largest regeneration developments.
Occupying one of the the two gateway sites on Central Park, the building reinforces the quality of ongoing development and has been a catalyst for further investment in the area. The new headquarters promotes new ways of working and enables the GMP to have the flexibility to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community they serve.
Better working environment to deliver the best service for the community
Following a review and rationalisation of the GMP’s estate, the requirement for a new headquarters was identified.
It was to be a long-term replacement for the existing headquarters at Chester House in Trafford and would bring together a number of departments previously located within leased premises.
The GMP’s main aim was to create an iconic facility that not only provided the authority with civic presence, but also met an aspiration to be seen as a modern, outward looking, forward thinking organisation. An organisation that provided the best working environment for its team and in turn would provide the best level of service to the public.
The BREEAM Excellent, Grade A office space also had to satisfy the detailed requirements of the Home Office. Ensuring a secure stand-off around the building through the careful integration of the landscape.
It was also important to maintain the quality of the public realm throughout the business park creating a civic setting, that made the building feel welcoming and approachable.
Encouraging new collaborative ways of working
The building needed to respond to the conflicting requirements of both the GMP, where they desired an open and transparent building and the Counter Terrorism Unit, who prioritised security and privacy. Leading to a the concept of a 'hard exterior' and a 'softer interior' arranged around a central atrium space.
Externally, the building has a strong identity and civic presence aided by material choices and use of blue glass panels, synonymous with the emergency services. As well as incorporating a security stand-off zone, a blast resistant facade and curtain walling system was used in response to the level of risk associated with the operations of the building.
Internally, the open plan design encourages new ways of working, to support advancements in policing and the demands of public service. Yet, maintaining a cellular approach where required due to operational sensitivities.
The interior design embeds the GMP’s ethos throughout with a molecular colour palette associated with technology and science to differentiate the 6 floors and make it easy to navigate. The palette is supported by an icon theme - iconic faces, quotes and keyword artwork work through the building across walls and glazing, with full colour walls breaking up text and adding splashes of colour.
Six iconic people were chosen to represent the different floors symbolising the values, beliefs and achievements admired by the police and community Robert Peel, Winston Churchill, Marie Curie, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and Emmerline Pankhurst. Typography artwork was created making these faces up out of keywords which represent the ethos of GMP and result in a unique image specific to the police.
Design and innovation
Atrium space as a focal point to promote communication and interaction
The layout responds directly to restrictions of inter departmental access, developed as a fractured donut arrangement which embraces a spacious central atrium, promoting communication and interaction. Glass fronted breakout pods are suspended from the fully glazed atrium roof, providing quiet space away from the main working environments for informal meetings or individual downtime. Generous walkway balconies provide opportunities for impromptu meetings or moments to pause to experience the space.
The base of the central atrium is lively, with a dining area and transition space for those filtering through from the staff and main entrances. Activity in the central space is encouraged by fronting the four passenger lifts onto the atrium, creating a visual connection through to the main entrance atrium. Integrated seating and tree planters with mature evergreen trees give the space a softer focal point and a unique place to wait.
For the community
The new headquarters has had tangible benefits for the local community creating direct job opportunities and being a major contributor to the regeneration of the area. Throughout construction, the project team was actively involved in a number of local social initiatives from collaborating in local newsletters and providing talks to local colleges, to assisting a local primary school with essential improvement works to pathways. Apprenticeships and Prince’s Trust opportunities were also offered to members of the local community with notable success.
Greater Manchester Police
EPC B Rating
Six-storey building for over 2,000 people
BCO National Awards 2012
Winner - Corporate Workplace
RICS Awards 2012
WAN Interior Design Awards 2011
Shortlisted - Commercial Sector
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