New Scotland Yard
The Metropolitan Police have a new home after moving into the Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM)-designed New Scotland Yard. Developed with the aim of combining openness with security, the building will eventually have more than 2,300 people passing through its doors each day.
Completed in November 2016, AHMM initially won the scheme in October 2013 after a RIBA-run competition. The brief was to deliver a landmark development and create flexible, efficient office environments. Boasting a number of innovative features that exude design freedom as well as security, the building has received significant recognition since opening and more recently won a RIBA London Award.
New Scotland Yard marks a return to the William Curtis Green-designed building on Victoria Embankment for the Met, part of a strategy to rationalise the force’s estate and shake up its working culture. Its former base for 49 years at 10 The Broadway has been sold and the funds used to refurbish and extend the 1937 building and improve technology across the Met’s estate.
The building, which sits next to the original police HQ designed by Richard Norman Shaw in the 1800s, was originally built as an annex to the latter to house the force’s technology departments. It had previously stood empty since 2011.
In addition to AHMM, global firm Arup played a central role in the provision of structural, building services and façade engineering and worked closely with architects on designing high-quality, contemporary offices that support the productivity and well-being of MPS staff. Arup crucially modified the existing perimeter to increase the building’s floor area and following geotechnical investigations presented the client with an opportunity to add an additional floor to the existing building.
Arup’s contribution involved many specialist consultants, including security and AV/ICT experts. Arup also worked within a tight timetable and developed a scheme that focused the works into the new build portion, saving time on programme and reducing risk for the client.
The design for New Scotland Yard is a radical remodelling and extension of the Curtis Green Building. The scheme consisted of four main elements: a new glass-fronted pavilion; another pavilion at the top of the building with views over London; a new wing at the side of the building to add symmetry; and an extension to the rear elevations to increase the floor space.
The Eternal Flame, which honours police officers who have died on duty, has been moved to the front of the building where it can be seen by the public. In the new pavilion, a case overlooking the flame holds the Roll of Honour listing all members of the Met who have died in service.
While these new elements help with the building’s transparency, security was paramount. Bomb-proof glazing is standard for a building of this nature but a great effort has been made to make security measures discreet. Security has been embedded in public realm features rather than as an obvious afterthought.
Internally, the Met’s new home features large open plan office spaces. Adopting hot-desking has been a huge change in culture but a variety of spaces are available to ease this transition. Some rooms have high desks with stools while others are more formal in layout. A café and breakout spaces have been designed to accommodate meetings in a more informal environment.
One of the quirkier and more playful elements of the design can be seen in the bathrooms, with each floor designed using colours of police service cars through the ages.
Completed ahead of the Met’s first female police commissioner, Cressida Dick, taking charge, New Scotland Yard gives the Met a distinctive and bold home. Transparent yet secure, the building brings over 175 years of history into a 21st century office environment.