The office building in Gdańsk was designed on the busy Aleja Grunwaldzka, in the buisness part of town. The client, a company from the IT industry, wanted to have an unusual building but not extravagant, high-tech but ecological, disciplined but conducive to creativity.
The choice of wood as the main construction material seemed to be an excellent choice. The wood is warm, ecological and carries centuries of tradition. Used as a construction in office buildings, it is - at least in Poland - innovative.
When designing the office building in Gdańsk, we remembered that IT companies are special users. First, they change very quickly, so the building must be very flexible. In addition, we assumed that the building must meet all the rigors of a modern office building. It should be easy to rent, even if the current user grew out of it and moved out. We founded a disciplined, 8.1 x 8.1m construction grid with a central core.
In addition, it was necessary to take into account the chaotic, colorful and hipster corporate culture of such companies. We tried to embrace this culture in a delicate disciplined framework. Hence, leaning in the composition of the building on the square: the square is the projection, the square atrium and the distribution of functions within multiples of the adopted module. The only elements that stand out against the background of the mathematical simplicity of the projections are the angles that gently introduce the interior of the building.
Employees are the most valuable for IT companies and to attract them the company tries to meet their high demands. Therefore, the building contains not only a car park, but also a parking for about 150 cyclists, cloakrooms, sanitary facilities and a fitness club. On the upper floors we have designed a canteen, a central atrium with greenery, a childcare point and a spacious roof terrace. The whole building has been covered with glass, which allows to expose the wooden character of the structure and optimally illuminate the interior.
Due to fire protection, we tried to limit the building's height to 12 m.
Shape of the building
As a result, we received an elegant rectangular, glazed block of the building, wrapped around a square internal atrium. The atrium is the "heart of the building". It has representative functions, it is a meeting and relaxation point. We proposed to plant a large olive tree inside, carrying a wealth of symbolism and referring to the main building material of the building.
The two higher floors have a slightly larger projection than the ground floor, giving an expression of lightness. The two mentioned angles lead to two opposite entrances to the building. The location of the entrances leads straigt to the atrium with the olive tree.
The underground floor is a classic reinforced concrete car parking. The structure above is fully wooden, except for the core containing elevators, staircases and bathrooms.
The whole is enclosed by a completely glazed curtain facade. Thanks to this, the wooden warmth of the building's interior emanates outside and softens the disciplined, refined facade geometry.
This combination of facade glass and wooden structure turned out to be the biggest design challenge. Wood lives, works and bends, glass requires minimal deflections. Due to the large spacing of structural elements, not characteristic for wooden construction, stiffening with stems turned out to be insufficient. Due to the purity of the plan and straightforward geometric discipline, we did not want to introduce oblique stiffening elements. Only the combination of perpendicular frames made of glue wood, joining the system of wooden ceilings in CLT technology (cross laminated timber), arrangement of shafts and well thought-out façade solutions gave the expected result. The idea for the façade was that the vertical elements were rigidly fixed only at the roof level, at other levels shifts were allowed. This made it possible to eliminate stresses, e.g. when the roof bends under the weight of snow and the floors below are unused and therefore underloaded.
We attached great importance to installation solutions. We chose the solution with the installation exposure, and therefore the lack of suspended ceilings, which was a fairly obvious choice: the ceilings would also cover wood.
We tried to make the largest part of the installation found its place under the raised floor: only the necessary part was found under the ceiling. It also allowed to reduce the number of punctures in structural elements.
We attached great importance to design the building in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The project was prepared for Platinum in the LEED certification system. It was not about certification, however, but also about the fact that these were important matters for the client and his employees. The use of wood itself: from certified sources, easily recyclable, which is a reservoir of accumulated carbon dioxide, was very helpful. But there are also full adaptation to the needs of cyclists, solar collectors on the roof, the use of gray water, a green roof covered with vegetation with limited watering requirements, facade glass with the highest thermal parameters and many more ...
Providing fire protection with a height limitation of 12 m and thus remaining in the category of low buildings was not a major challenge. Glued wood has a very high fire resistance, and the condition of non-spreading fire is met by appropriate impregnation.