Explorer House

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Dependent Work Areas


[[Description::Ordnance Survey's new head office at Adanac Park See Explorer House Construction]]

Associated Memories

Eco Friday 25th May 2012, OS 220 event at Explorer House, Official opening of Explorer House

People associated with the work area


Further Information

This page is about the building itself. For information and history about the site, please see Adanac Park.

Explorer House, in Adanac Park, is Ordnance Survey's brand new, purpose-built head office. The building, handed over to Ordnance Survey in September 2010, has provided Ordnance Survey with a new home that is suitable for a modern digital mapping organisation.

For most staff, their first look at Explorer House was the traditional Christmas Carol service, held on Tuesday 21 December at 3.00 pm. Staff were driven from Romsey Road to Explorer House by several coaches and there was a chance before the service to have a look round.

A small number of support staff moved in during Autumn 2010 but the main staff moves took place during several weekends in December 2010 and January 2011 and were complete by the end of January 2011. The desks, chairs, storage cupboards, telephones and printers/photocopiers were all new (although a few specialist items of furniture/equipment were moved from Romsey Road). Staff PCs were moved from Romsey Road though, along with one box of personal items for each person.

Explorer House consists of four spurs or 'fingers' of three-storey open-plan office space that connect to a large atrium, again three stories high, at the western extent of the fingers. To the west of this is a section of the building that runs alongside the atrium and contains the areas that are not office space - this includes the Restaurant kitchen, Goods Inwards, Business Centre and Data Centre. Again, this is three stories high. The main part of the building (to the east of the atrium) is constructed of concrete, with cylindrical columns. The west part is a steel structure, as is the roof of the atrium.

There are two circular service cores (known as 'pods') in the main building; these have open-plan stairs around the edge and WCs in the centre. All WCs are individual rooms, with an individual pan and sink rather than a larger room with cubicles and communal sinks. There are also tea points at each core, offering hot and cold water and even milk on tap!

The main Restaurant is on the ground floor, in the Atrium area. The servery is beneath the Business Centre There is also a coffee bar in the atrium and a shop.

Also in the western side of the building are Goods Inwards, the Post Room (containing state-of-the-art equipment), a First Aid room and Digital Print Services, which provides a reprographic service that can print high-volume work in full colour on many different types of paper/card. There are also a number of finishing options, from simple stapling to 'bookletising', binding and laminating.

Explorer House provides a vastly different working environment compared to Romsey Road but has proved to be a workplace that is much more open-plan and collaborative than the insular nature of the previous head office.

Explorer House Construction

The dedicated Explorer House Construction page shows many photographs of the building's creation.

Green credentials

Explorer House has been designed with sustainability in mind and it has received a BREEAM 'excellent' rating, an accolade that applies to buildings with high green credentials.

The office areas have large north-facing windows that allow lots of light in but avoid excessive solar gain and glare (the former being a major issue with the Maybush buildings). This has also reduced the need for artificial lighting and the power it uses. The south elevation of each finger has small windows; again these reduce glare.

The ambient temperature within the building is controlled automatically by the building's computer-controlled building management system (BMS). This opens and closes windows automatically and controls the heating and ventilation systems. The building is primarily naturally-ventilated but some mechanical ventilation is provided too.

The building is heated by a ground-source heat pump; this uses the ground as a heat exchanger - heat is extracted from the ground in the winter and absorbed into the ground in the summer. There is a grid of deep boreholes on site that are used for this purpose. There are two large air-handling units on the roof of the Business Centre; these supply heated or cooled air into the office fingers via large ducts on the roof

Rainwater harvesting is also in use and allows water drained from the roof to be used for flushing WCs. Another green initiative is a continuation of the commitment to recycling at Romsey Road; paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and film, metal cans and glass are all collected via special bins at the tea points and food waste is composted using an on-site 'Rocket' composting machine. The compost is used on-site and staff can help themselves as well.

Environmental issues were promoted via a special 'Eco Friday' event, where staff could learn efficient driving techniques, make eco pledges and have a behind-the-scenes tour of the building's green features.


  • There is a Restaurant with a full servery in the atrium area. The tables for staff to dine occupy most of the floor space in the atrium. The provision of tables was originally inadequate as the Restaurant is often filled to capacity but the purchase of additional tables has improved the situation.
  • There is a fully equipped kitchen behind the scenes where food is prepared. It is served from purpose-built servery counters, where some food is served by chefs and others (such as jacket potatoes) is self-served. There is also a 'Theatre', where food is cooked in front of customers, from 'build your own burger' to noodles.
  • There is a separate Deli counter and salad bar, as well as fridges with snacks and desserts. There are two till counters where staff can also pick up cutlery and condiments.
  • Used trays/crockery/cutlery and so on are placed on a carousel system.
  • A coffee bar offers a full Barista coffee service and staff can also buy cakes and breakfast items here.
  • A shop offers other food items, such as crisps, bottled drinks and so on, as well as a popular pick and mix sweets section.
  • There is a bank of six fridges and six microwave ovens for staff to store/heat food.
  • There are two tea stations on each floor. These have two sinks, two ZIP taps that provide both boiling and chilled water, bins for compost and general waste and a milk dispenser providing semi-skimmed cows' milk.
  • Although it was originally a traditional pay-by-cash system, Explorer House's catering is now 'cashless', with staff making purchases using a pre-pay card system.

Meeting rooms and Business Centre

There are several meeting rooms on each floor, of differing sizes and layout. Most of these boast a large-screen wall-mounted TV that can be connected to people's laptops.

The Business Centre on Level 1 contains a large lecture theatre and several conference rooms. The Solent Lecture Theatre was improved in 2011, as it was originally less impressive than its Romsey Road predecessor. Outside the Business Centre rooms is a balcony overlooking the atrium. The balcony space is used on a very regular basis for informal events; examples include drop-in sessions on 'Building your resilience', Risk and Assurance and the Multi-resolution data programme.

On the ground floor by Reception is a 'multi-purpose' space used to host various events.


Most staff have a high-tech phone that offers an internal phone book lookup and numerous other options. The sound quality of internal calls is much higher than on traditional phones.

Printing is provided by Oce multi-function devices (MFDs) around the building. Staff send their work to the printer queue and then collect it from any of the MFDs around the building. Staff log onto these using their pass and a card reader.

Explorer House boasts the only Data Centre in the UK that is cooled by ground source heat pump. The Data Centre is very impressive and was designed and installed by Ordnance Survey.