Saga Group Headquarters is built on a sloping site, surrounded by parkland and overlooking the sea. The accommodation is divided between two separate and contrasting adjacent buildings: a serious-looking steel and concrete framed office block, and a playful, fabric-roofed training and recreation building, known as the Pavilion. The two buildings are only loosely related to each other, with no formal architectural link.

The office building has work spaces for 900 staff. A vertical five-storey rectangular block stands on the northern edge of a horizontal two-storey podium, cut into the slope of the site. The podium has a courtyard carved out of it and a terrace roof, which forms a garden apron, in front of the taller building. A side entrance leads up into an atrium, which acts as a conservatory on the south side.

The shape of the Pavilion roof responds to the pull of the sea view. Membranes are stretched between four pairs of steel arches, tensioned like bows. Each pair tilted to the south, with tapered 'eyebrows' of vertical glazing filling the gaps in between. The big central space is used mainly as a restaurant or for large meetings. It leads, through a full height glass wall, out onto a terrace overlooking the sea. Underneath, there is a nursery for staff children. The Pavilion is flanked by single-storey support spaces on the east and west sides.


  • Location Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • Value £22 million
  • Size 12,000 m²
  • Client Saga Group Ltd
  • Year 1999