Academy House, Cambridge
Embracing flexibility and connectivity at AstraZeneca’s new head office


Location: Cambridge
Value: Undisclosed
Size: 30,000 sqft
Service: Interior Design

2016 Mixology North, Winner

Rob Parish

As part of AstraZeneca’s estate review we were selected to design the fit-out of the new head offices in Cambridge. The basebuild comprised just over 30,000 sqft in Academy House, a 3 storey office building completed in 2015 and a floor of the adjacent Unex House.

Whilst developing the detailed brief, a concept based on atomic structure and connections, became an analogy for the nodes of the organisation and the connections between them. This translates from the introduction of a triple height, top lit staircase at the centre of the floorplate supporting informal interaction, through to the bespoke joinery and graphic wall coverings.

The design embraces AstraZeneca’s ‘i-work’ concept and is built on activity based working and the use of neighbourhoods to informally zone the space. Working closely with the various components of the business we identified an appropriate mix and proportion of workstyles including; shared desk spaces, sit stand desks, 2 person pods, activity booths, meeting rooms, kitchen tables, semi private acoustic booths, and high backed break out chairs with laptop tables.

Bespoke joinery hubs, formed in exposed high grade plywood, house storage, printers and lockers and punctuate the open plan areas. A hospitality area, adjacent to the stair can hold events in an open plan lounge style and be used by staff to support informal interaction and happen stance meeting.

A restaurant that will also serve a nearby future AstraZeneca office will host ‘town hall’ meetings as well as informal meetings and gatherings during less busy times of the day. The height of the space allows for stepped seating providing a setting for the team to congregate in a theatre style format.

IT played a significant part and has been integrated seamlessly, all rooms are VC enabled and two telepresence rooms are also provided.

“5plus architects’ vision for Academy House exceeded our expectations, their approach to see problems as challenges was both refreshing and successful in the final design of the building. They designed within a tight programme against a background of significant budget constraints. The finished project is a building transformed into a destination where people want to go to work.”

Steve Ashton
Global Director of Workplace, AstraZeneca