Morgan Stanley’s Glasgow HQ named top corporate workplace in Scotland

Glasgow’s 122 Waterloo Street, home to international banking giant Morgan Stanley, has been named Scotland’s top corporate workplace in the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) 2020 awards.

Morgan Stanley’s Glasgow HQ named top corporate workplace in Scotland

122 Waterloo Street

The highly sustainable, grade A office building, developed by HFD Property Group, opened in 2018 and has capacity for more than 1,400 employees.

The BCO judges commended HFD, Morgan Stanley, and their designers for creating a flexible workplace that meets the requirements of the business, together with impressive support facilities for staff including a gym and restaurant. They noted an increase in staff satisfaction and pride in the workplace, testament to the versatility and variety of spaces and amenities provided, making this a sought–after destination for the millennial worker.

A range of state-of-the-art facilities were incorporated into the building’s design, with a particular focus on employee wellbeing. Amenities include a gym, restaurant, meditation room and on-site health care centre, as well as ergonomic breakout areas, collaboration spaces and conference rooms to complement its bright open-plan offices.

The building has an A-rated EPC and a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, making it one of the most energy efficient offices in Glasgow.

The building is the first phase of HFD’s ambitious Bothwell Exchange development which also includes 177 Bothwell Street, set to become Glasgow’s largest office.

Michael McDowall, director of HFD Property Group, said: “122 Waterloo Street is situated in the heart of Glasgow’s business district and is among the most sustainable office spaces in Scotland. Employee wellbeing and sustainability are two of the most important factors for office occupiers, and we’re continuing to champion these elements in every HFD project.

“Contrary to some popular beliefs about the impact of COVID-19 on office-working, we believe the office has an increasingly important role to play in the future of work. Top-quality office space will only become more important for attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Elsewhere in Friday’s awards ceremony, The Earl Grey Building in Dundee was named Scotland’s Best Commercial Workplace and three of Edinburgh’s best buildings were also recognised.

A hallmark of the regeneration of Dundee’s central waterfront, the Earl Grey Building is the first commercial property delivered under the area’s masterplan. The judges felt the new development has set a high standard in contemporary workplace design, despite its limited budget, and become a benchmark for quality in the area. The judges were particularly impressed by the building’s strong environmental accreditation and striking impact on the local landscape – with views across the new V&A Design Museum, the River Tay and the City of Dundee.

In Edinburgh, 10 George Street, Queen Elizabeth House, New Waverly Office and Ediston, 1 St Andrew Square have been recognised as three of the best workplaces in Scotland.

10 George Street was awarded the Best Refurbished / Recycled Workplace Award. Situated within the Edinburgh New Town World Heritage site, the building previously suffered from poor daylight and a dated structure. Expanding the space in the Reception and taking advantage of the height to introduce high levels of glazing has created a spacious and warming environment. The judges were highly impressed by the new space, which allows for better communication and collaboration physically and optically. The judges agreed the refurbished space has breathed new life into a prestigious location to create a contemporary, flexible office space.

Ediston, 1 St Andrew Square was crowned the Best Project Up To 1500m2. The judges were impressed by the movement the space encourages, supporting work away from a traditional desktop by offering a variety of alternative spaces. In particular, the judges highlighted the social space underneath the building’s atrium that brings natural light into the heart of the building and provides ample opportunity for breaks and informal catch-ups. The judges also noted how the building’s flexibility supported its social purpose, with over half of the office being able to be easily rearranged to accommodate evening events.

Queen Elizabeth House, New Waverley Office took home the Innovation Award. The 265,000 ft2 commercial office was built on a former Brownfield site as part of a mixed-use scheme in Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage area. Six floors of office space are split over two buildings, linked on three levels by a large fully glazed ‘bridge’. The judges felt unanimously that Queen Elizabeth House was a worthy winner of the Innovation Award, not only because of its commercial success in attracting a dedicated single occupier, but also due to the undeniable contribution that QEH makes as the cornerstone of the New Waverley Quarter.

David Dool, consultant at Cooper Cromar and chair of the BCO Scottish Judging Panel, said: “The 2020 entries presented at this year’s Scottish Regional BCO judging visits revealed another interesting and impressive range of projects. Yet again, the advancement of priority to health and wellbeing intrinsically linked to good office design was highly apparent, with almost all occupiers allocating communal amenity spaces and varied workplace settings supported by good connectivity.

“As in previous years choosing winners was a real challenge for the judging panel, however entries illustrated that, although moving forward our working patterns may change the collaborative, mentoring and social aspects which come with a high quality workplace still remain important.”

Gillian Stewart, director at Michael Laird Architects and chair of the BCO Scottish Chapter, added: “My first year as the new Chair of the Scottish Committee has been interesting in many ways and I would like to thank all of our members, sponsors and local Committees for sticking by and supporting the BCO throughout these very challenging six months. Despite this, membership in Scotland continues to grow and we were delighted to be able to host our BCO Regional Awards event, for the first time on a virtual platform.

“We recognise the time, effort and expense that goes into entering the awards and were delighted this year to showcase some really great projects. These awards recognise the ‘best in class’ across a wide range of benchmarked metrics, and our winners should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

Scottish winners will compete with those from other regions at the BCO Virtual National Awards on January 26.

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