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Date: 2003-07-15

Zum Gucken: Geheimdienstzentralen von oben

Das neue General Communications Headquarters im britischen Cheltenham geht diesen Sommer in Vollbetrieb. Ob es nun mehr einem aufgeblasenen UFO ähnelt oder doch einem "gaping asshole" sei dahingestellt. Das australische Gegenstück Defence Signals Directorate steht hingegen in Canberra mehr im späten Stasi/platten/stil herum. Cryptome hat beide von oben observiert.
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The New Accommodation Program Director for GCHQ estimates that over 30 years, the four-story, 1.1 million square foot office complex will save the UK Government many millions of pounds over a conventionally developed and operated alternative.

"A lot of the enthusiasm the new complex generated came from its bold, iconic design." This compliment is from Tony Harden, who has directed its construction. Its shape has a dual purpose - it both secures the building against incursion and creates a large central outdoor space that people can use informally without having to pass through checkpoints.

Detailed design is where much of the added value was captured. From the beginning, Gensler envisioned the complex as a humane, flexible, and sustainable workplace. Natural light and ventilation are key elements in this strategy. The exterior window wall and clerestory windows both bring daylight into the interior, helped by the shape of the complex. The building has "lungs" in the form of an interior "street," open to the roof, that removes hot air, and a system of raised floors, chilled beams, and a double-skin exterior wall "thermal chimney" - measures that will reduce its energy use by 40 percent.

Durability is another an obsession. Granite is used extensively in areas of high wear, for example, and the cooling towers use stainless steel tanks and trays, because this will extend their life by two decades. PFI requires that the winning consortium operate the building for 30 years. Given this timeframe, the business case for materials and systems consistently favors higher quality alternatives.

GCHQ will start occupying its new complex in the summer of 2003, but most of their employees have already toured it. The typical reaction to it, according to their Business Change Manager, is "I can't wait to move in."

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edited by Harkank
published on: 2003-07-15
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