GKN Aerospace

Type: CAT B fit-out of Global Technology Centre

Sector: Aerospace

Size: 42,000 sq ft

Location: Bristol

Duration: 18 weeks on site


Shortlisted for SBID’s Office Design Awards 2021.



<Back to case studies

The Vision

The Vision

GKN Aerospace (GKN) are committed to developing the sustainable aerospace technology of the tomorrow - innovating the future of flight.

A key part of this vision is having a UK Global Technology Centre (GTC): a place to house 300 highly-skilled engineers and STEM students, which includes collaborative space for research and development in partnership with universities, the UK’s CATAPULT network and GKN's UK supply chain. In addition, GKN are focused on increasing diversity, working with schools and colleges to encourage diverse students into engineering.

From an internal perspective, GKN also needed to develop new, more agile ways of working, with a space that allowed flexibility, and increased efficiency.


This project involved the holistic engagement from workplace strategy, design and build project to final delivery, onboarding materials through to post-occupation evaluation.

The Action

The Action

Interaction were initially engaged to undertake workplace research and engagement, conducting utilisation studies at four sites, employee surveys, business-wide interviews and working group participation to get to the heart of how GKN function and how they would like to function in the future. Initially focussed on GKN's vision including cultural and financial approach, key goals, and outcomes, we built an action plan with key deliverables and milestones before delivering a granular roadmap, communicating the most critical details of the programme to key stakeholders, highlighting dependencies, and possible risks. Exploratory focus groups provided an interactive forum in which to measure attitudes towards ways of working.

Our Workplace Strategy Review identified business, team and individual requirements, types of work settings and cultural approach, with specific focus on agility and flexibility.

From our report and recommendations, we began to develop a design brief to bring GKN's new vision to life, including a Workplace Technology Package to make the building usable for all.

The Result

The Result

The building is a fitting monument to GKN's position at the forefront of technology development and collaboration; a vibrant environment where young STEM students collide with engineers from GKN's 50+ partners.

On the ground floor, an auditorium capable of holding audiences of 100 back people backs onto a "hack space" which can be used by STEM students and collaborators.

The second floor is a diverse collaborative space. Breakout desks provide flexible working spaces for GKN's ecosystem of engineering partners, while a library area provides a space for learning and heads-down work.

GKN have sole access to the first and third floors, with a List X-ready space on the top floor featuring a Faraday cage which blocks any electromagnetic signals.

Security and accessibility have been rigorously balanced across the site, with a comprehensive CCTV infrastructure, access control throughout building, an entrance barrier connected to an ANPR system and cutting-edge intruder alarms.

Our Workplace Technology Package ensured the building's technology infrastructure was future-facing and flexible.

We introduced the GoBright building management software solution, that has come into its own in assisting with Covid19 return to work planning and management.

Nureva Span project management software and interactive touch screens were installed in meeting rooms, addressing the desire for more flexible team working.

Our system integrated Starleaf video conferencing alongside the touchscreen systems, meaning key spaces can be used for collaborative sessions as well as point-to-point and point-to-many video conferencing with the highest quality (alongside an impressive central presentation zone, where 9 screens connect into a single seamless display). Light-up panels on each desk show whether that desk is free, and glow purple if the desk hasn't yet been cleaned.

Two huge training rooms with a folding central wall ensure STEM students learn in an expansive, welcoming environment, while a multitude of natural finishes combined with natural light and biophilia to create a warm, welcoming space. A large cycle storage and shower space (with heated lockers) encourages environmentally-friendly travel to the site.

Finally, our Onboarding Handbook provides a comprehensive welcome to anyone using the building, guiding them through all the attributes that make the Global Technology Centre so groundbreaking.

GKN's Global Technology Centre represents a major commitment to developing the sustainable aerospace technology of the future through collaboration and nurturing of new STEM talent.

To call it a workplace doesn't really do it justice.

Key Design Features

  • Flexible collaborative "hack space"
  • Giant preserved foliage wall in reception
  • Multipurpose taps (cold, hot and sparkling)
  • List X - ready room with Faraday Cage
  • Large auditorium for town halls, product demonstrations and events
  • Library space for quiet working
  • Extensive breakout areas and roof terrace
  • Integrated Workplace Technology Package featuring:
    • GoBright building management software
    • Nureva Span interactive screens
    • StarLeaf Video conferencing