An architectural paradigm for innovative office buildings
TIBA Architectural Studio
The design and management of office spaces has changed radically over the last 30 years. Films like All the President’s Men or Working Girl conjure up images of office spaces divided into cramped cubicles each fitted a desk where everyone worked individually even if there were more than fifty people on the same floor. Only the executives could see the outside world from their offices with windows. Workplaces were a tool that served to define employees’ professional status rather than a way of pursuing company values or helping workers fulfil their tasks to the best of their abilities. In recent decades, studies of occupational illnesses affecting employees have revealed the substantial economic losses that companies have incurred due to absenteeism, injuries and a lack of focus and shared goals. Looking at the photos of the project carried out by Budapest-based practice Tiba, it is not only evident that the employee workspaces offer views of the outside world, but from the project technical specifications it is also clear that firms such as Magyar Telekom and T-system regard the all-round well-being of their employees as a source of pride and something that should be communicated both within the company and to the outside world. Taking a closer look at the complex, we can note that it is one of three office buildings and accounts for around 2% of Budapest’s entire office real-estate market. Further characteristics include a total buildable area of 105,000 sq.m, including 58,000 sq.m suitable for rental, around 4,000 workstations and 4,500 work spaces, a 300-seat two-floor conference centre, two restaurants with capacities of 350 and 150 people and a kitchen capable of preparing 2,600 meals a day. During breaks, employees can use the services of a cafeteria, a fitness centre with a 700 sq.m gym and a roof patio running track, 2000 sq.m of internal gardens and a 150 sq.m company lake. Employees travelling to work with their own vehicles can make use of a car park with a capacity of 1350 cars, 50 motorbikes and 344 bicycles that can be accessed via three ramps and is equipped with a smart parking system. There are 16 changing rooms with showers connected directly to the underground car park, a car wash, hi-tech test laboratories, IT systems and the best office wi-fi coverage anywhere in Hungary. Strategically positioned in the metropolitan area of Budapest with direct access to the M3 metro line station, bus line 1 and the railway station, the building can easily be reached from anywhere in the city and indeed the world given that the Liszt Ferenc international airport is just 15 minutes away. The building also boasts BREEAM certification thanks to the radiant cooling and heating system and the prefabricated glazed façades with high-efficiency window darkening and light diffusion systems. The use of rainwater and grey water for irrigation and conscientious waste management are additional features. All of this has been designed using 3D BIM — LOD 300 software.
Observing the photos, the first thing that catches the eye are the full-height and full-length windows that take on the colour of the sky. The shape of the building complex makes one think of the stern of a flagship ready to set sail towards the horizon. The sharp, jutting point extends outwards, while the empty part below transforms it into a giant lantern that illuminates the transit space during the evening hours. The interior lighting that filters out through the windows creates the appearance of a lightweight exoskeleton floating above the concrete base. During the day the natural light accentuates the reflective qualities of the glass, restoring unity and visual compactness to the entire structure. There is little movement of the vertical surface in this imposing real-estate project, but what little there is gives conceptual identity to the entire structure. Natural light also filters in through the glazed roofs, introducing diffused lighting into the three internal courtyards that alleviate the compactness of the structure. It reflects onto the Stone Mix collection porcelain tiles from Italgraniti, which are installed in parallel and sagittal directions relative to the perimeter walls of the internal areas to create a threshold that delimits the adjacent spaces, highlighting the beginning and end of the different living functions. The Stone Mix tiles play an active role in interior space management, adapting to the chosen design to create an internal pathway where one can admire the sheer quality of the stone look in this porcelain collection from Italgraniti, where nature provides inspiration and becomes design. But it is not just a question of aesthetic beauty: the high-performance surfaces are durable and resistant to wear, weathering and staining, and are also easy to handle and clean. The entire collection draws inspiration from the natural world to offer novel living prospects. This product is the result of digital processing to recreate the finest vein effects chosen from different types of stone and to ensure a unique colour balance.
Projects of this scale are made up of multiple elements, one of the most important of which is the ability to embrace an innovative vision for the future of workplace management. They are unique opportunities in terms of brand identity because they engage with the entire company structure and make employees, customers and visitors feel they are part of a clearly defined and welcoming organisation.
Italgraniti, Stone Mix
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant