Client Selection: OPACC Holding AG, Kriens
Selection/Study work: 2015
Room program: New Headquater - Working place
Placement: 1. Prize
Total floor area: 9'300 m2
Volume: 39'335 m3
Investment costs: ca. CHF 21 Mio
Realization: 2016 - 2018
Project team for selection:
The plot of land between the railway station and the motorway called for a clear and carefully considered concept providing an optimal solution for the situation. The study was based on the development plan and phased implementation.
Our concept envisages the block development opening up towards the south. The building is facing the mountain panorama, the stream, and the public space in the area around the railway station. This gives the site an attractive, sheltered outside space – shielded from the noise coming from the motorway. The space can be used by employees during breaks and for meetings. It also serves as a representative entrance area and a kind of courtyard in front of the building. In terms of noise prevention, the important thing is not the distance from the motorway, but the position of the building with the sun-exposed outside space in front. An aspect that helped the project win over the jury.
Both wings of the building in the first phase are designed to function as self-contained entities. Things can be subsequently linked to the existing infrastructure during additional phases. The proposed arrangement of the building reduces the potential for conflict in the event of any additional phase. The space for a second phase is available at the front in the form of an outside car park, whose shape takes account of the future situation.
The proposed office complex will form an angle – to provide a shielding effect and also save space. The actual volume of the building decreases towards the south and favours efficient use of energy. The extensive external facade facing the motorway is to serve as a visual advertising space for OPACC. The company logo will appear as pixel-type graphics, providing a contrast with the uniform glass front. The letters OPACC will be visible to all drivers on the A2 motorway and act as a kind of billboard for the innovative IT company.
The verandas, with their plants, provide somewhere to spend time outside in the fresh air. These spaces are shielded from the noise and offer plenty of light and greenery. They also form an arcade that protects the entrance area and looks welcoming to visitors and employees.
The outside space – designed with diversity in mind – welcomes visitors and employees as they head towards a two-storey entrance hall. Next to the entrance area are the various public spaces such as the reception area, restaurant, training rooms, and demonstration areas. Spaces to spend some time are focused around the landscaped courtyard, an inviting place for visitors and employees to relax or simply linger a while.
The verandas at the front overlooking the yard are somewhere to stop and rest. They also provide shade for the office space directly behind on the floors above ground level. The office space faces east and north and thereby minimises the amount of direct sunlight hitting the monitor-based workstations, but without any loss of natural light. Movable partitions allow for different interpretations when deciding how to use the space available. Workstations also allow a degree of flexibility in terms of their arrangement. Up to eight employees can be grouped together in the offices. The communication areas are aligned towards the courtyard and – together with the meeting rooms, cafe bars, and conservatory areas – form overlapping spaces distributed across the floors.
The utilities and server rooms are in the space under the roof. The waste heat from the servers is used for heating purposes. Ventilation is effectively decentralised, with air coming in through the courtyard facade and being extracted via the roof. This means the utilities do not require much space and will not be affected by another phase of construction.
The space outside the angular building forms a really impressive courtyard. This features various areas (covered with gravel, grass, and plenty of plant life) where people can walk through or simply spend some time. Due consideration has been given to the existing vegetation along the stream, and this has been integrated into the design. The uninterrupted glass facade allows those inside the building to experience the greenery of the outside space and provides a relaxing contrast with the sterility of an IT-dominated environment. The individual seats are ideal places for people to get together in a relaxed setting. The area in front of the restaurant features comfortable outdoor seating.
The concept envisages two construction phases. The first phase is the more significant, with a buffer zone planned for additional office space. This space does not have to developed from the outset. The draft design permits various extension options. The parking area for the first phase provides the footprint for the second phase. Regardless of whether this ever materialises, the first phase is effectively a self-contained entity.
The design is to be implemented using single-application concrete, with inlets provided for the heating and ventilation fixtures required. The skeleton-type construction offers maximum flexibility when it comes to floor plans. The load-bearing partitions are tailored to the needs of the users. The 1500 m2 photovoltaic system acts like a canopy and protects the actual surface of the roof. As such, there is no need for the roof to be greened over. Rotating panels between the work and communication areas mean the opening can be adjusted to suit individual requirements and the level of privacy needed. The flexible configuration of the interior makes for a pleasant working environment. Polished concrete is the preferred option for the floor. This will provide a contrast with the wooden ceiling, which will take care of ventilation, lighting, and sound insulation.
The jury was quickly won over by the solution for the situation, which struck them as both unexpected and intriguing. They felt the project represented a highly ingenious and sustainable concept and were happy to award it first prize.