Monthly Archives: January 2011

Flexibility and adaptability – the birth of the modern UK business park

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Architecture, Sustainable Design | No Comments

flexible interior design

We’ve always been interested in interiors and buildings that are flexible and adaptable – changing their use without any substantial or expensive alterations being required. It’s all part of understanding the ‘life-cycle’ of a building. It’s naive to think that when a building or interior is designed and constructed, it will be used exactly as intended for its entire life. Needs change over time, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. Understanding how these changes may affect a building can help a designer to make allowances for them, so that the owner can evolve their business without having to worry too much about the effect it will have on their premises (and their bank balance).

A really great example of simple, flexible building design are units on business parks. These are simple buildings with large volumes which can be adapted to a wide variety of uses. One of the first, and most successful, modern business parks in the UK is Milton Park in Oxford. Property entrepreneurs Ian Laing and Nick Cross purchased the site during the mid 1980’s, which was originally a British military ordnance depot. ┬áSeeing the potential of these huge, simple buildings, and understanding how they could be adapted to almost limitless uses, they transformed the site into a huge mixed use business and science park. It’s amazing to think of some of the ground-breaking innovations that are taking place in what are, basically, huge sheds.

We see these types of building all over the UK now, however it’s nice to think they originated from a way of re-using what were previously considered to be worthless and redundant buildings. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple and inexpensive – as we can see, entire industries have been built on such foundations.

Heterarchy provide interior architecture and design services throughout the UK – for more information get in touch>

Image source – StubbsRich ‘less is beautiful‘>