Santander Bank Building

Liverpool, United Kingdom

The highly sustainable regional headquarters building will provide office space for 1,300 full-time employees, as part of a wider masterplan, also designed by the practice.

Developed in response to Santander’s pledge to be net zero by 2050 and with a focus on wellbeing and sustainability, the scheme is BREEAM Excellent accredited and will be WELL Standard Platinum.

Using a hybrid of CLT and exposed steel structure, an innovative heating and cooling strategy has been designed using passive radiant ceiling panels.

With all floors having access to planted external terraces, generous external amenity provision and a focus on connectivity, the design is well suited to the post-Covid workplace.

Project summary


Sector or building type: European Technology Hub

Total sq footage: 250,000 ft2

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A live work community

JCA won a developer-led design competition to re-imagine the 9-hectare, National Giro Bank site, marking the fiftieth anniversary of banking on the site.

The Masterplan consists of 230,000 sq ft new build offices, a 1.2-hectare public park, retail and community pavilions and a second phase of modular key worker housing.

The result is a highly sustainable live/work campus, serving an existing community, 20 minutes from Liverpool city centre.

Innovative office design

Designed as a single fire compartment, the ground plus three floors are arranged around a central street with large stairs and bridges connecting all floors. Working with sustainability consultants Max Fordham, JCA pioneered the innovative use of passive chilled ceiling panels and low-velocity air distribution, located in the linear service cores. The result is an elegant ceiling design, free from any ductwork and virtually maintenance-free, allowing floors to be reconfigured efficiently and with minimal disruption.

Typical office floors are 26,000 sq ft NIA with 82% net to gross. The services design can accommodate a density of up to 1 person per 6 sq m. Although not a requirement of the design, the end user fit-out design divided the floor into four communities of 100 people, each served by a central service spine.

The low entropy system results in free cooling for over 70% of the year, due to the lower operating temperature of the system when compared to fan coils. The design was independently tested by BSRIA to assure performance targets were met. Embodied carbon has been minimised to 487 kg of carbon per sq m (Modules A1-A5 LETI) and the hybrid steel and CLT structure are designed around standard rolled sections to permit future recycling of the steel.

External Envelope

The external cladding design was performance led according to the required solar shading necessary to minimise solar heat gains whilst maximising natural daylight.

This resulted in an adaptable modular kit of parts that provided external shading with accessible planted gantries and external fabric roller blinds.

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