Fanum House is the headquarters of the Automobile Association in Basingstoke, in the English county of Hampshire. It is one of several AA buildings named "Fanum House" around the country. The original headquarters in Leicester Square, London, was also called Fanum House, "Fanum" being the call sign of the AA.
The AA took advantage of 1960s government incentives to move from their London HQ to the rapidly expanding town of Basingstoke. The building was completed in 1970 and AA employees moved in at that point. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1973. It is an 83-metre (274 feet), eighteen-storey building (seventeen floors of offices plus a viewing gallery on top).
Fanum House is clearly visible from the M3 motorway and from the A30 approaching Basingstoke. Fanum is a Latin word for "temple", and was chosen to reflect the AA's status as the UK's premier motor breakdown company.
The Skyline Plaza development in the town centre replaced it as the tallest building in Basingstoke when it was extended from 61 metres to 85 metres, with the addition of three floors in 2009.
Fanum House today
The seventeenth floor was originally executive offices with its own bar but is now the same layout as the other floors in the tower block. There was also a bar on the second-floor canteen when the building first opened, though this closed some years ago.
There is no floor 1: the ground floor is known as "Upper Ground", while the "Lower Ground" basement floor is about half the size of the floors in the tower block. The first floor up in the lift or stairs is called Floor 2. The Upper Ground floor is much larger than the floors in the tower block, with a large open-plan flat-roof office area, a coffee bar, shop, learning centre and a theatre which is used for company presentations. The building also has a large undercover car park, notorious with employees for its very narrow parking spaces. This is due to the increase in the average size of cars since it was built, a common problem for older car parks in the UK.. There is an undercover connecting walkway from the car park to the Upper Ground floor.
Floor 10 is not regular offices, as it is mainly a power supply and building control area. Part of it is office space but only used for specific purposes. It is clearly visible from outside after dark as there is one floor which is partially in darkness.
Future of Fanum House
In the mid-1990s, the AA's HQ moved to the purpose-built Norfolk House on the edge of the Basingstoke ring road at the A340 junction, with the intention that Fanum House would be closed entirely. However the new offices were not large enough for all the Basingstoke-based employees, and both buildings operated in parallel for a period. It was ultimately Norfolk House that closed in 2002, following the takeover of the AA by Centrica in 1999, when the HQ functions moved to Farnborough. In 2005, the headquarters returned to Fanum House.
In April 2017 it was announced that the AA would be leaving Fanum House and moving to new offices in Basing View; and that Fanum House was to be demolished. However in September 2017 it was announced that the AA would be staying at its existing home and would be spending money to develop the site.
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