New Stoke-on-Trent City Council HQ to help create 4,500 jobs
A FIVE-STOREY civic office with rainbow-coloured glazing will sit at the heart of a city centre development designed to create 4,500 jobs.
The 100,000 sq ft complex will be the first of six office blocks built on the site of the former Unity House in the Central Business District (CBD).
London-based RHWL Architects is responsible for the patchwork design, which it said will deliver groundbreaking energy efficiency.
Michael Clark, principal director, said the design was inspired by the region's ceramics heritage with tessellated tile-style panels coloured in the style of art deco works by iconic Tunstall-born art deco designer Clarice Cliff.
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Leaders today heralded 'the start of the CBD', which is set to create thousands of jobs over 10 years as it expands to include four further office blocks, two hotels and scores of cafes and shops.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez, pictured below, said: "We've got to invest in our city now to secure its future.
"The Government is imposing deep cuts on local authorities and we can't continue to operate the way we have done.
"If we can create a thriving city centre it will have a positive impact across the city and the other towns will benefit from extra footfall, extra investment.
"At the end of the day this is about creating much-needed jobs.
"It's a very distinctive design based on the heritage of the city. I will be interested to see what the public response is."
It is the first of two office buildings the council will own and occupy from 2015.
The brightly-coloured complex, which will be occupied solely by the council, will sit opposite a rust-coloured 'cube' building on the opposite side of a central piazza.
Together they will house the civic offices and public section of Hanley's City Central Library.
Genr8 is expected to submit a formal application by mid-November. An application for the second building, which will include shops and cafes, will follow in the coming months.
Genr8 partner Mike Smith said: "This is the start of the CBD proper. It will be a catalyst for inward investment over the next 10 to 20 years.
"What we have is a state-of-the-art building which focuses on energy savings and environmental performance.
"I was shocked when I saw the design, but in a good way."
This week the authority began advertising a 15-acre site in Stoke – including the Civic Centre, Spode works, town hall, King's Hall, Gordon House and Kingsway car park.
The council estimates the CBD will be worth £62 million a year to the region's economy.
But the authority, which will borrow up to £59 million to fund its new HQ and other projects, has been accused of abandoning Stoke and wasting money amid budget cuts.
Proposals go on display for public consultation at the Mitchell Theatre between 12.30pm and 7.30pm today.