casey1On 17th November, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO officially opened the new offices of The Casey Companies in Rochdale.

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the youngest grandson of King George V and Queen Mary.  He practised architecture as a partner of a London firm until he commenced royal duties on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1972.

The Duke has remained particularly interested in architecture and conservation.  He became a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1972, and serves as a commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage).

Peter Casey, company Chairman, said, “We are very proud of our new office building and it is an honour that His Royal Highness, The Duke of Gloucester, is here to celebrate it with our staff and our guests.  The building illustrates how far the company has come over the years and, with his experience, it is particularly fitting that it is The Duke performing our opening ceremony“.

The offices were designed by Taylor Young, based in Handforth.  The brief was for a striking, environmentally responsive building and pleasant environment for staff.

As the site is in the green belt, close liaison with the local authority was required and restrictions were placed on the design including limits on the height and footprint of the building.  This led to the configuration of a main core with two two-storey, flat roofed wings.  A third, northern wing was also consented allowing for future expansion.

The design philosophy was to produce good environmental performance using simple services and natural ventilation linked to thermal mass.  The use of a concrete frame and green roof, insulated render and timber cladding allowed the insulation layer to be on the outside of the external masonry.  This was combined with internal walls of feature stone work and large areas of ‘slate’ tiled flooring providing the building with a very high thermal mass.  This helps to maintain stable temperature conditions across the day.

A good quality working environment was achieved within a simply serviced building by sizing the width of the floor plates to provide good lighting and cross flow ventilation.  Opening panels behind sets of louvres also allow for night time cooling. The major office spaces benefit from higher than usual soffit heights, and raised floors are provided throughout for services distribution.  The early choice of a concrete frame enabled flat ‘clean’ soffits and external walls free from column intrusions. Lighting control in most areas is automatic, to minimise energy use.

A limited pallet of materials with good sustainability ratings was chosen for the external envelope, in particular timber windows, cladding and a striking brise soliel to shade high summer sun. An extensive green roof was specified as a positive measure in relation to site ecology, rainwater drainage attenuation and insulation of the building envelope. It is also an important acknowledgment that the building can be seen from above and so should sit comfortably in its environment.

Tony Chell, Casey Managing Director, said, “It has taken us a very long time to assemble the individual components that bring together our vision of the perfect working environment.  The establishment of our new office building on the site of the former Rydings Mill within the green belt area has been a truly remarkable achievement.

This transformation and redevelopment of the approach to the office through our now well established wild life corridor is absolutely amazing.

We genuinely recognise that our staff are one of the most important components in the making of a successful company and we are proud to be able to provide them with these beautiful surroundings.  We are, and will continue to be, Pro-Environment Pro-People Pro-Casey.”