Keynsham Civic Centre Remodelling
Workplace redesign for greater collaboration and flexibility
Keynsham Civic Centre (KCC) is Bath & NE Somerset’s primary office hub and was completed in 2014. DKA were appointed in 2021 through the BANES Architectural Framework to transform the building interiors to enable the implementation of a new Blended Working Charter. This coincided with COVID-19 lockdowns but was intended to look beyond these short-term changes to a post-COVID world where the workplace encouraged greater collaboration and mixing between teams.
The BANES Blended Working Charter gives council employees flexibility over home working, desk-based work and access to both formal and informal meeting spaces. This is facilitated by a new laptop rollout for all, which liberates staff from the need for a fixed desk. The KCC project will provide a range of workspaces for different working styles. Some traditional desk groups remain for those who have the need for long periods at a conventional desk (or adjustable height desk). The building will also accommodate those who come in a few times a week, want to work privately, meet colleagues or attend training. Some may only pop in occasionally and need somewhere to perch for an hour between site visits.
The main change will be the ability to book a collaboration space for a group to meet have access to IT and mobile whiteboard screens. New acoustic measures will also control noise between these groups. Five whole floorplates have been dedicated to collaboration of one kind or another, including new communal refreshment points to give ‘coffee shop’ style work space and encourage people to mix at breaks. Old kitchenettes have been repurposed for Teams Call Booths for private calls and virtual meetings via laptop. This prevents private meeting rooms being occupied by one person.
Working directly with the Council’s in-house PM, DKA were the Lead Designer, Principal Designer with a team of subconsultants for other services. The project started by creating design concepts and holding a series of stakeholder meetings with both senior managers and department representatives. This aided the wider communication of the project and helped us understand what currently didn’t work about the building. We also took on board the specific needs of some Council teams; some services had particular concerns around confidentiality, or needed bespoke storage for equipment.
Alongside the major floor plate remodelling, the team designed a series of interventions, from changing the reception, adding self-service food areas, new tea points, new first aid room, showers and cycle facilities. These were given zone numbers and costed individually to create a shopping list of items. We then recommended which zones would offer the biggest impact for the budget and this formed the basis of a tender to their framework contractors. Thankfully, the scheme came in under budget so further zones could be added in, including refreshing all WC cubicle fronts.
A key element of the scheme was designing the furniture. We re-used as much as possible and supplement these items will new pieces. A number of chairs were re-upholstered to suit the new colour scheme. DKA’s interiors team helped audit the current furniture, liaised with external suppliers, and scheduled out the full FF&E for the contractor to work from. Since the start of construction, DKA & team stayed client side – checking drawings, answering queries and attending regular meetings. The building was handed over for a phased return by BANES staff in late June 2022.
Overall, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to help BANES achieve their goal of a transformed headquarters. The feedback so far has been excellent and the interior design has made the building feel far more inviting, exciting and easier to navigate. Previously lacking in personality, the spaces now have added colour & energy and will be a catalyst for greater inter-team engagement. We can foresee this will be a model that many large organisations will wish to follow.
Alex moved to Bath in 1996 to study architecture and has found it impossible to leave. Graduating as an RIBA prize winner, he has worked at DKA since 2002, becoming a specialist in Sustainable Design, Education, Rail, Aerospace, Automotive Engineering, Conservation and Commercial projects. Alex possesses a strong design awareness combined with a methodical approach to managing projects and teams.
Kate joined DKA in early 2018 having studied Interior Design at Falmouth University, graduating in 2017. Her personal interest lies within Interior Architecture and Commercial Design. During her time at university she enjoyed researching existing buildings that could have a potential for re-use, keeping intact its prevailing features and adding modern day adaptations.