Green Park, Reading

Client: Green Park
Type of works: design and installation of three striking external staircases

One of the largest business parks in Europe, Green Park, is home to a range of individually-designed landmark buildings, offering high-quality accommodation to suit the needs of a wide range of businesses.

Set in large soft landscaped spaces, each building enjoys lakes, tree-lined walks and a mixture of planting arrangements. As one of the keynote architects for this landmark development, Tate and Hindle Design took responsibility for two phases of work for their client, PRUPIM, covering the amenity buildings for the park as well as two new office buildings, each designed individually to suit their plot location.

Both office buildings were developed to provide flexible and highly efficient office space, the design relocating core services, such as lifts and internal staircases, from the heart of the building to ensure maximum space utilisation. Whilst most services were removed to an adjoining, ‘wedge-shaped’ building, the escape staircases were located externally, again to optimise internal space.

With a need to reflect the core design values of the building, Tate and Hindle Design specified a spiral staircase, designed and manufactured by the UK’s leading supplier, Spiral Construction. Sarah Brown, Associate Director at Tate and Hindle Design explained: “Siting the staircases outside the building meant that internal space which would have been needed for a staircase and lobby was retained as lettable office space. Locating the staircases externally allowed them to be a strong design feature and to animate the façades.

“Incorporating pale concrete treads together with galvanised mild steel balustrades and hand rail, the staircase provides a really striking and elegant contrast to the monolith form of the anthracite-coloured glass façade”.

To proceed with an external staircase, to meet building control requirements, the design team had to ensure that the metal handrail would never be cold to the touch. After extensive research, the team identified a high-technology solution, a coating that had originally been developed by NASA for its space programme; this was applied to the handrails. Also, each concrete tread was installed with an anti-slip contrast strip to highlight the edge.

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