Parker Hannifin is a global provider of international bioprocessing solutions with a number of international sites both in the UK, Europe, Africa and United Sites. The 42,500 sq ft Parker Hannifin offices and manufacturing centre in Birtley, Co.Durham are a key site in the UK responsible for the design, supply and delivery of single-use filtration systems for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. The Birtley site is an active workplace and a complex yet crucial centre of business activity for Parker Hannifin in the UK. The site has suffered from a lack of consistent investment into facilities and was ready for a completely new approach to refurbishment across the board.
Following initial engagement with the client to develop a master plan for the Birtley offices, Blake Hopkinson Architects were subsequently engaged to deliver the project for a complete refurbishment of the existing offices including the main office space, improved laboratory facilities, a goods-in warehouse extension and reconfigured car parking layout to improve staff safety and separate goods vehicle movement on site.
Key Project Requirements
Creation of a new staff entrance and staff ‘plaza’ area to support dining, informal meetings and town hall style gatherings along with a more active working space with quieter contemplation areas. The brief included a new reception area which communicates corporate branding as well as enhanced internal corridor spaces to improve natural light and connections between different areas of the building. The project also required the full refurbishment of laboratory areas at ground floor level with improved meeting space and communication routes between different areas of the building by removal of cellular offices to create more open plan, agile working solutions wherever possible. The manufacturing area required improved amenities for production staff, including entrances, toilet and kitchen facilities and goods storage areas in addition to a number of important improvements to elevate the entire building façade to improve the overall aesthetic of the office and manufacturing areas.
The main focus of the project was to elevate the overall look and feel of the building to represent a successful, contemporary and international business. The project was planned to ensure the ad hoc nature of the current buildings developed a shared purpose with improved flow between spaces to support modern, agile working methods. As an active working environment, the project was split into three different phases of delivery with the laboratories in the first phase, the main office and shared spaces in the second phase, and manufacturing and external works in the third phase.
The new Parker Hannifin premises offers a completely new outlook for staff and visitors. With a bold and contemporary overall design scheme, the shared spaces have been linked to reflect global brand positioning and success within the pharmaceutical sector using clean lines and bold colour accents to complement the open-plan layout of the new office building. The main reception and staff plaza has been given new purpose with colourful, shared spaces for staff to work, relax and enjoy. The overall tone of the design is pared back, uncluttered and calm to support the corporate feel without detracting from the creation of a warm and welcoming environment.
Every element was considered in isolation to assess the benefit it will bring within the wider scheme. For example, the floor-to-ceiling panelling with its subtlety textured white satin finish surrounding the reception desk was introduced to promote natural light and increase the feeling of light and space within the entrance area. The shared spaces have been given a new lease of life by removing partitions wherever possible for a more natural flow conducive to an agile working environment with breakout working areas directly alongside more social spaces.
By removing partitions between desks and working spaces for an open-plan office environment, communication has been more effectively promoted across departments and divisions.