First look at News UK headquarters

Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will (PBP+W) has designed the new UK headquarters for News UK at the News Building, in Southwark. The project unites all News UK’s newspaper and book publishing businesses - News UK, Harper Collins and Dow Jones – under one roof, creating a world class destination for staff and customers.

Delivered in just 12 months from concept to completion to accommodate lease expiries, the vision for the 17-storey, 430,000 sq ft fit-out was to create an open plan, fluid and egalitarian space with great visibility. It challenges static work practices, supports internal mobility and promotes collaboration and interaction amongst the three businesses, while at the same time celebrating the individuality of the different brands.

A key part of the brief was to create a considered journey through the building, which enhances and supports the values of each business and shares the story of the company’s heritage with staff and customers. The design embeds the essence of the business – storytelling – to produce unique talking points throughout the building.

The nature of the floor-plate allowed for a design that responded to the business requirement for openness and transparency as well as flexibility in response to the agile nature of News UK’s work. Cellular spaces have been built around the cores to allow for maximum flexibility in the open plan space, while also maximising daylight to the floors and celebrating the magnificent views to the river Thames and London.

Distinct arrival points to the floors express the brands and businesses’ identities. Part of the blank canvas, the generic palette and footprint to common on-floor facilities allowed for customisation to suit the character of the brands. Glazed and solid partitions provide opportunities for team and brand personalisation in the form of applied colour and graphics. Across the entire space, as much furniture and technology has been reused as possible.

Lighting was key to reinforcing the character and ethos of the individual businesses and adds vibrancy to breakout spaces and meeting rooms. For the 17th floor client suite, a low-energy interactive light installation comprising clusters of bespoke, colour-changing luminaires react to movement and draw the eye through the space.

Common areas celebrate and incorporate the client’s products, tools and heritage into the design, using them as architectural elements to create unique pieces: cast panels from archive printing plates form the front panelling of the reception area, a modern take on the business heritage; 14,000 books free issued by HarperCollins create a feature wall between the library and the in-house bookshop; keys from computers keyboards clad the front of the technology help point; a “technology garden” displays current mobile technology for purchase in a playful yet informative fashion; recycled typewriters provide low level lighting in the library, adding interest and humour.

William Poole-Wilson, Principal at PBP+W, said: “Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will is delighted to have been part of this major landmark project. News UK’s move embraces its own heritage in London, with a vision that both cherishes publishing and the digital future, in a building that provides transparency and visibility to its brands and a design that showcases how headlines are made, stories developed and creative collaboration thrives across the three businesses.”

The team has created a workplace where the energy of the work is palpable, collaboration is supported, agility is embraced, and surprise and discovery occurs. With its myriad of work settings to support collaborative work to suit the pace of the work and prime location it is both an exciting workplace and a destination for occupiers and visitors alike.”

Team credits:
• Client: News UK
• Architect: Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will
• Workplace Consultant: Whitestone
• Project Manager: News UK
• Quantity Surveyor : Equals Consulting
• M&E: Troup Bywaters & Anders
• Contractor: ISG
• Structural Engineer: WSP
• Lighting designer: Paul Nulty Lighting Design

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