HSBC, Queen Street, Cardiff
Among the many challenges faced in the internal re-construction contract of HSBC’s flagship branch in central Cardiff is that it was a listed building. It could only be closed for a thirteen week period, during most of that period a customer service desk in the lobby had to be retained.
The upgrading of the Queen Street branch was always going to be a challenge, balancing the sensitivities of working in and making changes to a listed building including the spectacular doomed roof whilst integrating it to the needs of twenty first century banking. We liaised closely with the development team including Cardiff architect HLN, who in turn had to prepare a design and specification that would satisfy CADW, the conservation group in Wales.
The project involved converting the basement, formerly the banks strong room and safe into a business banking area with its own interview rooms. The ground floor level was opened to increase the counselling positions from 13 to 25. Most notable was the creation of a new central architectural feature which was a helical staircase, specially designed and manufactured in stainless steel and glass, connecting the three operational levels of the bank. In addition, in order to maintain a similar aesthetic appearance, a new glass clad lift was installed to provide a disabled link between ground and mezzanine levels.
Even a temporary closure of the flagship city centre branch needs very careful planning and teamwork from all parties involved.
The whole refurbishment project was completed to programme within the thirteen week contract period.
“Of the many issues along the way, effective teamwork proved to be the most important. Crucial to that was excellent communications, something we were able to achieve with Murray & Willis; they took into consideration the business needs of HSBC. If there were any issues they would be dealt with there and then to the satisfaction of everybody.”
HSBC’s project manager for South Wales
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