This article is by Richard Hutchinson
Richard is a director at LOM who leads a wide range of architectural and interior design commissions in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia.
The new LOM-designed UK headquarters for Santander has reached a construction milestone.
Unity Place, the landmark new Milton Keynes workplace and soon-to-be UK headquarters for Santander, has celebrated its ‘topping out’ – a milestone during construction when the highest point of a building structure is completed.
Representatives from the development teams, supply chain, and the Milton Keynes community came together to mark the occasion, including from Santander, LOM, John Sisk & Sons, Osborne+Co, WSP, Murray & Associates, and Byrne Bros.
This historic ceremony has roots stretching back thousands of years, and traditions are still maintained to ensure no ‘evil spirits’ are trapped in the building and that the future occupants will experience only prosperity and success.
“The topping out is an important milestone, and testament to the hard work of the whole team that kept construction on schedule throughout the pandemic and against the background of global supply chain disruption.”
Following speeches from key individuals, the traditional yew tree branch, wine, oil, salt and corn were added to a section of concrete due to be raised onto the roof of the building. Historically a human sacrifice of an architect was often included in the topping out ceremony – thankfully, and with some relief, this practice has long since been dropped from proceedings!
Standing on the seventh floor for the topping out ceremony – on what will become the rooftop wellness walking track and garden terrace – we could clearly see the vision of this landmark building coming together. It will be a leading BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainable design that reimagines what a corporate headquarters can be – with areas for third party businesses to thrive and promote an urban economic ecosystem centred around Unity Place.
For the Milton Keynes community it will be an inviting and innovative space, with publicly accessible retail outlets, urban market, rooftop bar and restaurant, community hall and events centre. A new heart for Milton Keynes’ economic and social scenes that will set the standard for future development in the town.
The topping out is an important milestone, and testament to the hard work of the whole team that kept construction on schedule throughout the pandemic and against the background of global supply chain disruption.
Work now moves to completing the exterior and the interior fit out, with final completion set for 2023.
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