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New Tombola HQ in Sunderland

Tombola's high-tech haven takes shape thanks to the most advanced glass in the business

The £6m HQ in Sunderland is on track to become one of the best office campuses in the North East.

Some of the world’s most advanced glass will play a big part in the creation of new high-tech headquarters for a North East online gaming giant.

Sunderland firm tombola develops and produces original bingo software and games, created by an in-house development team, and is one of the largest employers of game and web developers in the North East.

Now the firm is creating new headquarters, with Newcastle’s Ryder Architecture designing the impressive £6m building which is set to become one of the best office campuses in the region, complete with a bistro, gym and a large central atrium.

Brims Construction won the deal to build the 27,000 sq ft building – and its glazed features will play an important role, even helping to boost the 400-plus employees’ memory function and productivity.

Senior architect and design lead from Ryder Architecture, Paul Milner, said: “Our brief from tombola for their new high-tech HQ was to provide the best possible working environment for employees and to maximise the stunning views to the River Wear and port beyond.

“People with views and a connection to the outdoors have a 10% to 25% better mental function and memory and, in an office environment, those with access to natural daylight are 18% more productive.

“As the high-spec design evolved it was agreed that the striking trio of roof pitches and feature glazed east elevation should not to be diluted with any internal and external shading systems.

“After extensive research, we discovered SageGlass, a product of Saint-Gobain, which met all our ambitions for the building from an aesthetic and biophilic perspective - as well as offering significant performance benefits in terms of energy use and comfort.

“The glass itself is a dynamic and intelligent electrochromic glass that tints in response to the sun path.

“There are four states of transparency, and in its darkest state when viewed externally the east elevation will dramatically reflect the new landscaped campus and existing Grade II listed Rose Line building, tombola’s current office.”

With virtually all of tombola’s staff working at a monitor or screen, mitigating glare is essential.

With SageGlass, personal settings can be programmed centrally by tombola enabling them to control the working environment by letting in as much or as little visible light and heat as desired, while minimising glare.

Alan McLenaghan, CEO of SageGlass, said: “tombola has a deep connection with the city of Sunderland and allowing team members to remain connected to the lifeblood of the city, even when inside the building, was extremely important to them during the design process.

“SageGlass will enable tombola to utilize their workspace effectively and ensures there is a connection to the city and the River Wear at all times of the day, no matter the season.

“The tombola team sought out the newest building and energy technologies whenever possible – we are happy that SageGlass compliments their approach so nicely.”

Phil Cronin, tombola CEO, added: “As a leading tech company it has been important to us to design a high spec and technologically advanced building to provide the best possible working environment for all our employees.

“Recruitment is currently a key driver of our ambitious growth strategy and in line with our 20:20 strategy to double our turnover and our workforce over five years.”