Headquarters for Walkers law firm, Georgetown, Grand Cayman
“Innovation is one of the defining characteristics of our firm so we wanted a building that reflected our core values and worked well with the environment in the Cayman Islands. With leading-edge technology, advanced hurricane protection and stunning facilities for staff and clients, Walkers’ new offices will be an exceptional place to work”. Antonia Hardy, Managing Partner of Walkers’ Cayman Islands office. January 2013
The largest purpose-built office building in Grand Cayman for the oldest law firm on the island and, naturally lit around an atrium, the first workplace of its kind on the island, the new Walkers headquarters is both a wonderful place to work and a powerful international statement of intent.
The Walkers Group, based in the Cayman Islands for over fifty years, provides legal, fiduciary and management services from offices in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jersey, London and Singapore. For this project, Walkers were looking to build a flagship headquarters that combined their global core values with the specific tropical and social environment of the Cayman Islands.
The nature of their practice calls for a mixture of cellular offices, open offices and large and small meeting rooms, supported by archives, a library, a cafeteria, boardrooms and a theatre.
At competition stage, we presented a simple snaking ground-hugging design, drawn from our distance in London, imagined as ideal for Grand Cayman. We began by promising that everyone would work in natural light, with the support staff in open-plan mutually productive shared accommodation, all daylit, all interconnected.
The realised design, a compact deep plan geometric signature achieves all this but by wrapping its seven office floors around an atrium, unprecedented in the Cayman Islands. Grand, airy and sociable, the atrium shows Walkers at work to staff and visitors alike.
The external form of the building is strong, an angular chamfered four-block lump punctured with scattered windows, portrait and landscape with a diamond pattern all over which breaks into a vertical lattice window grid in the middle of each side where the lifts, stairs and meeting rooms divide and join the four corners.
Productive, elegant and iconic.
Location: Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Client: Walkers Group
Cost: £23 million (approx)
Areas: 10,000 m2
Dates: 2005 – 2009
Environment: A Category Five Hurricane ready building
Team: SCABAL with Woods Bagot, McAlpine Ltd, DDL QS, Vista PM, Atelier Ten Environmental Design Engineers Dewhurst Macfarlane & Ptnrs Structural Engineers
Caribbean Construction, Second Quarter 2008
The Architects’ Journal, 22 January 2008
Architectural Review 2013