Most of our 5,500 staff works at headquarters building at Benhall in Cheltenham. The multi million pound building, provided under PFI arrangements, provides state of the art facilities to deliver our essential work. The building is impressive both in terms of design and appearance and in the way it enables GCHQ to work.
The 'Street' is the hub of the building, the primary navigation route around the building and providing a range of facilities including a shop, restaurant, deli bar and coffee shops and gymnasium.
The open plan design fosters close teamworking and knowledge sharing and encourages more face-to-face communication. All staff, including our top management, operate in the same open plan environment. The circular design of the building means that you are no more than 5 minutes walk from any colleague working in the building. Soft seating areas are available and popular for short and focussed meetings. It is undoubtedly a fact that GCHQ can respond more effectively and efficiently to business pressures as a result of the new building. Communication is the key of our business and the 'Doughnut' enables effective communication.
A range of quite amazing facts and figures can be associated with the building, for example:
- The central courtyard area of the building could accommodate the Albert Hall.
- The building is in fact three separate structures; joined together and collectively they are the same size as the old Wembley stadium.
- The roof comprises over 11,000 sq metres of aluminium and is based on the design of the Centre Court, Wimbledon. When the building's lifespan comes to an end, the roof can be 'unzipped' and reused or recycled at a low cost.
- The building has 13,000 sq metres of glass - equivalent to double-glazing for 10% of the houses in Cheltenham.
- The shell of each office chair is made from 36 recycled plastic 2 litre pop bottles. Desks and table surfaces are made from 90% recycled wood and all steel products are made from 30% recycled metal.