Gloucester City’s (formerly) ugly and tired shire hall wins major design award

Gloucester shire-hall3

A old and tired shire hall building in Gloucester, which many had called for its demolition, has won a major award after a total transformation project.

Gloucestershire County Council’s city centre headquarters was named winner of the Best Large Commercial Project in the LABC Building Excellence Awards 2020 for the West of England region.

It comes after an ambitious programme lasting more than 120 weeks was carried out, aimed at reducing its running costs and making more efficient use of public sector assets.

It is one of a number of awards for projects across the region.

  • Winner of the Best High Volume New Housing Development was Thornbury Fields, Thornbury, Gloucestershire, Project Team:
    Winner of the Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development was Oaktree Avenue, Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire. Project Team: Speller Metcalfe, BM3 Architecture, Livewest and Local Authority:South Gloucestershire Council. Local Authority: South Gloucestershire Council
  • Winner of the Best Public Service or Educational Building was the SGS Pegasus School, Almondsbury, South Gloucestershire Project Team: BAM Construction, BAM Design, SGS Group
  • Winner: Best Small Commercial Project was Overton House, Cheltenham. Local Authority: Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Building Control Service. Project Team: E G Carter & Co, Ferguson Mann Architects, The Barnwood Trust

At Gloucester’s Shire Hall, working closely with designers Quattro and contractors Kier, the county council’s project team has transformed the way the building works.

Solar panels and highly insulated cladding systems were installed, which have significantly reduced its carbon footprint and heating bills and will ensure the building is self-sufficient over the summer months.

The redevelopment has enabled a number of key partners to co-locate within Shire Hall, namely the NHS, City Council and Police, which has led to revenue savings, more efficient use of the building and greater collaboration.

Poorly conditioned, dark and draughty offices have been turned into open-plan space with LED lighting and computer controlled heating.

Through close working with the Disability Network, the modernisation included disabled powered access, ramps, lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring linked access throughout the building.

Leaders of the county council were keen to rejuvenate the existing building rather than build new offices outside of the city centre, to maintain support for the city centre economy and reduce costs.

Gloucester shire-hall2The redevelopment has also acted as a catalyst for the regeneration of Gloucester City, spearheading the redevelopment of Quayside and the surrounding area which will see two new GP surgeries and a retail pharmacy.

Shire Hall received the award for ‘building excellence in the delivery of outstanding construction and workmanship’.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The redevelopment of Shire Hall has been a very successful project. The building is now much more energy efficient, which will cut carbon emissions and reduce costs, and it has led to further investment in the area.

“We can also work more closely with our partners in the same building, which will benefit the whole county. I would like to thank the project team for their hard work and dedication and congratulate them on this well deserved award.”