Technical Study: UK Hydrographic Office in Somerset by AHR

UK Hydrographic Office, Somerset. 07 Feb 2020, Issue 52015_01016_000_1034

Source: AHR / Daniel Hopkinson

Bringing everything under one roof was a central aim – so the architect made it the defining feature, writes Helena Russell

AHR has completed a new headquarters for the UK Hydrographic Office in Somerset which has radically overhauled the working conditions for more than 800 staff.

The UKHO is an agency of the Ministry of Defence which is also a major supplier of marine geospatial information to commercial partners. Providing that data has moved from print to digital, resulting in dramatica changes to the body’s working practice. Software developers now make up a large proportion of the workforce and printing facilities are no longer required, which has freed up land at the Taunton site to be sold for housing development. 

The decision to use precast elements for the roof played an important part in meeting the programme

Since being evacuated from London during the Second World War, staff had worked in a range of pre-war buildings across the MoD site. The need to create a new building was underscored by the desire to unify the organisation – the “one team” ethic was a key theme across the project.

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