AstraZeneca's new “Parklands” office building in Cheshire, England, provides a substantial work environment for its employees. Accommodating 750 of the pharm-aceutical company's worldwide drug development personnel, the building was designed with a sleek, modern appearance, with ample lighting and space. Also contributing to the building's progressive look, the flooring is comprised of a combination of English slate and York stone.

AstraZeneca's own project team collaborated with main architects Lovelock, Mitchell, and Partners to create the central atrium, which serves as a multi-functional open space. And when it came time to choose the slate, Broughton Moor from Burlington Slate, Ltd. of Kirkby-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, was selected. The stone is featured throughout the main reception area and perimeters of the central atrium, and it was specified with a honed finish. Leading Cheshire-based interior designers, Claremont Business Environments, specified the stone. “The look of the atrium and indeed of the whole building is sleek and modern and offers several innovative features,” said Simon Harris, senior designer at Claremont Business Environments. The atrium features include reception and relaxation areas, and a cafe.

The slate was chosen to provide a contrast to the York stone -- a popular paving stone in the U.K. -- that is also featured throughout the large atrium. “On such a prestigious project, it was critical that we incorporated materials of the highest standard, so given the superior quality of Burlington stone and its intrinsic beauty, it was an obvious choice,” said Harris.

In order to meet the goal of providing a more open atmosphere and flexible working methods, architects constructed the building in an open plan environment. Each floorplate has a core support facility providing meeting rooms of varying sizes, a breakout area, and an exhibition and presentation space.

“We are extremely pleased with the final result -- it is a great design and professionally implemented. The whole building is superb,” said Andrew Shore, a spokesperson from AstraZeneca.

Recently, the projects design received the British Council for Offices (BCO) 2003 Regional Award for the corporate workplace for North of England, North Wales and Northern Ireland.