The two-storey 12,000 sq ft building, designed by 5Plus and Cube, and fitted out by Spatial Office Environments, is already attracting interest as an exemplar scheme.
Set around a central atrium, the impressive modern internal space has now been surveyed for Google Street View, with 360 degree views of each of the work zones The building is also providing inspiration for other housing associations, with staff hosting visits from a number of other companies looking to redesign their space.
The striking deep pitch roof is designed to resemble the chimneys of local landmark, Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, with four window-topped turrets funnelling natural light to the internal space. Externally, the brick clad steel frame building also features large glazed recesses to maximise natural light, plus brise soleil to prevent glare.
Russells Construction was commissioned to undertake the build following the work of sister company Russell Homes on the neighbouring Bower Brook Gardens, a £14m joint venture housing development delivering 185 mixed tenure new homes with HHT. The JV is now set to start a second phase on another neighbouring site, following recent planning approval, delivering a further 118 new homes.
The new headquarters allows the housing association to bring together all its staff under one roof, relocating from two previous buildings at Daresbury Point in Runcorn and Foundry Lane Widnes. Waterfront Point provides tenants with a new reception area and meeting space in a location with better accessibility for many, close to the main A557 Watkinson Way, numerous bus routes and three popular retail parks.
Employee wellbeing is at the heart of the design of the new office with cool shared workspaces, relaxed seating areas, The Hub kitchen area, private glass meeting pods and an entertainment zone with a pool table, treadmill and table tennis. Staff are surrounded by a pallet of bright colours, cheerful bunting, and a mixture of homely and custom-made industrial furnishings, with natural light and ventilation providing a healthy ambiance.
Paul Mullane, development director for Halton Housing, said the move would benefit tenants and employees. He said: “Working from two sites was becoming increasingly difficult and inefficient, and we feel we’re already providing a better service simply by being together in one place. Most tenants prefer to use our web and telephone services but, for those who still want to come in, we have a much better facility to welcome them.
“It’s also important that we provide our employees with a workplace that inspires and excites them. We are one of the largest employers in the borough, most of our staff are local, and we believe they deserve the investment of this calibre. The delivery team has really given us something special, particularly in the design and specification, considering the tight budget, and we were extremely pleased to work with the Russells team once again.”
Andrew Russell, director of Russells Construction, said: “Waterfront Point is a landmark new building for Widnes. This scheme further contributes to the regeneration of the area, which has been totally transformed by Halton Housing from brownfield industrial to thriving residential and high quality employment. We were pleased to secure the office contract, particularly following the work Russell Homes has done with Halton Housing at Bower Brook Gardens, and we hope to continue working with them in the future.”