Chris Stewart Group wins award for Greenside office development

Chris Stewart Group (CSG) has added another award to its growing trophy cabinet having won the British Council for Offices (BCO) Refurbished/Recycled Workplace category for its Greenside development in Edinburgh.

Situated on Blenheim Place, which backs onto Calton Hill, the 38,000 sq ft office building was originally built by Scottish Equitable in 1989 for the firm’s own occupation. CSG acquired the building in 2016 after it had lain empty for a number of years and the refurbishment programme, carried out by GHI Contracts, took just nine months.

Arranged over five floors, the building needed modernisation. The design was for a vibrant and innovative ‘de-furbished’ finish, combining the existing high quality materials with new glazing solutions to maximise the natural daylight flooding in to the building. Greenside now offers a peaceful and contemporary city centre office environment, and in December 2017 the award-winning fintech company Nucleus Financial Ltd moved in taking 50% of the space, while an additional 20% is now under offer.

Announced during the Scotland awards ceremony, the BCO award recognises top quality design and functionality and is a benchmark for excellence in workplaces. In making the award to Greenside the judges recognised CSG’s vision to create a viable Grade A office space for modern organisations and its innovative approach to both its original funding with the support of the Government-backed SPRUCE initiative, as well as tenant fit-out.

Chris Stewart, CEO of Chris Stewart Group, said: “Blenheim House, as it was originally known, was a tired and inefficient office building when we bought it in mid-2016. We knew it had potential and I’m delighted with the completed building, now known as Greenside. This award is testimony to the skill and design of the development team, including our internal project team, ISA, Troup Bywaters and Anders, Will Rudd Davidson and PMP.”

The refurbishment was designed and planned in such a way so as to maximise flexibility of fit out options for incoming tenants. Nucleus Financial took full advantage of this flexibility, working with the main contractor and recommended designers. They created an amphitheatre staircase that connected their floorplates on different levels, and allowed the installation of a skylight, bringing additional daylight into the space.

With existing high quality materials including stone, concrete and lead, the building surpasses most in terms of its fundamental fabric, however, it was outdated.

The introduction of combination charred and treated timber fins and vertical panels from local supplier Good With Wood, steel overcladding, and revealing the original concrete waffle ceilings has ensured a stylish, contemporary look and feel to the building. Striking feature lighting and a larger reception space adds prominence and visibility where there was little previously.

In addition, an entirely new mechanical and electrical plant lifted the Energy Performance Certificate level from a D to C through the introduction of a heat recovery air conditioning system and LED lights throughout and the environmental performance was further rewarded with a BREEAM rating.

A spokesperson from BCO said: “Congratulations to Greenside. Amongst the surrounding bustle of the City, the judges were enchanted by how stylish and discerning design has created an oasis of calm.”

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