Project: BuroHappold Office
Country/city: Poland/ Warsaw
Project design: Buro Happold in cooperation with Ecophon, Philips Lighting, Hamilton and Carrier
Photographer: Bartosz Makowski
BuroHappold’s new, healthy office is located in the central business district of Warsaw, Poland, in a freshly renovated high-rise building. As you arrive on the sixth floor, through glass doors, you can see a welcoming, spacious reception area. The first thing that strikes you is how peaceful it is despite the open space with 120 people at work. There is just a soft, pleasant background noise. In conference rooms voices are crystal clear, but inaudible when you leave them. If you want to make a phone or a video call you can go to a ‘phone booth’. Your conversation will be perceived as perfectly neutral, without the impression of speaking from a confined space or disturbing others. For privacy or concentration, there are quiet rooms that let you work in absolute silence.
Though the office is in the middle of a bustling city, you have a feeling of breathing fresh, clean air with outdoor pollution left outside. Although the space is new, there is no hint of unpleasant odours. The office never gets stuffy. It makes you feel awake and active for the whole day. On a sunny, hot day or in freezing winter evenings, the temperature in the office is always comfortable.
Daylight enters through the full-height windows and reaches the centre of the floorplate, so the interior seems very bright, but at the same time not dazzling. When it gets dark, automatic sensors gently turn the lights on in occupied areas. The lamps give cool light in areas where you need to concentrate, and warmer light in social zones creating a more relaxing atmosphere. Your eyes feel good here and they don’t get tired.
At lunchtime you can enjoy your meal in a spacious kitchen (you can even spice it up using the herbs that grow there) and not worry about the smells of your tasty dish as extractors prevent odours from spreading. Hot drinks are made using hot water from the dispenser programmed to the precise temperature. With all necessary facilities (showers, clothes dryers) available, you feel tempted to cycle to work, or use public transport, which in this location connects you with any place in the city.
From the outset, BuroHappold partnered with Ecophon, Philips Lighting, Halton and Carrier to develop a design that could maximise the effectiveness of the lighting, acoustics and HVAC systems. These systems are critical and the final solutions deliver outstanding acoustic performance, optimum daylighting controls and an efficient ventilation system that ensure high levels of thermal comfort throughout the year. Verification of the design and an extensive monitoring system was installed to measure and record consumption and performance parameters of all the systems.
BuroHappold’s new office is not only a truly healthy environment but it also educates people and inspires them to lead a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle. The advanced metering of energy and water consumption results in higher awareness of the environmental impact of the office.
“When searching for the new premises we had a few objectives that we successfully managed to fulfil. First of all, we were after a space that we would be able to shape from scratch, located in the central business district with easy access to amenities. We wanted the office to showcase what BuroHappold offers its clients: technically robust, innovative and future-proof solutions.”
Ian Booth, Partner, BuroHappold Engineering
The quality of the interior environment in the new office has been acknowledged by the Polish Ventilation Association which rewarded BuroHappold with the Pascal 2016 Award for their HVAC work.
For visual comfort, the office features dimmable LED lighting with pre-programmed light level for every workstation.
To enable office users to breathe clean air, BuroHappold has ensured generous volumes of fresh air supply based on CO2 concentration.
For optimised temperature, a highly efficient system allows for top thermal comfort with full control of temperature in 30 zones.
Natural colours and materials makes the office an enjoyable space.
Water and energy consumption is monitored to ensure savings.
For the sake of the budget and the environment, a significant part of the existing interior features has been re-used.