Situated on the ground level of an existing office building, the concept for the company’s new headquarters is a ‘building within a building’. Initially, three concepts were explored: "walls", "boxes", and "bars". The long, narrow, linear space required a concept that would allow for flexible working conditions in a relatively narrow footprint. Based on a series of coalescing transparent boxes, the enclosed offices, meeting rooms, and yoga / gym area together form the boundaries of communal spaces. The main circulation was pushed toward the outer most wall to allow light to penetrate the enclosed offices and meeting rooms, while maintaining site lights from either end.
The raw materiality of the building’s core structure is left exposed and painted white to mark the 'outer building'. In contrast, the core 'inner building' is designed with warm woods and bright furniture to differentiate the two.
The series of coalescing transparent boxes together form the boundaries of communal spaces. These boundaries are softened and blurred with the use of materials. A raised, continuous wood floor delineates a fluid movement. The edge is detailed to give the illusion that the floor is floating over the landscaped edge. Additionally, large full-height glass partitions allow for unobstructed views through the space and allow light to travel throughout.
Lighting plays a key role in blurring the edges and it is manipulated in different ways depending on the use. Natural light and general overhead light are paired with functional pendant lights and accent lamps for workspaces. Beyond the task lights, different lightning strategies are used to accent key design elements. Diffused light is used in the yoga studio to create a soft glow, evenly spaced, rhythmic spots are used to create a shadow effect in the hallways, and linear LED's are used at the edge of the floating wood floor to highlight the vegetation.
Private offices delimitate open shared workspaces and are enclosed by large sliding full-height glass partitions. The sliding partitions can be opened fully to create flexible work spaces, whereby eliminating divisions between programs if needed. The spaces are able to adapt to the working needs of different groups by allowing for the flexibility of size and privacy.
Along the edge of the 'inner building' runs a lush, abundant natural landscape that is experienced throughout the offices. It is strategically placed along the edge of the space thus guiding the user through the space all the while bringing some color and life to a generally strict work environment. Watertight planters are detailed to sit just below the wood path, concealing the edges, while allowing for the successful growth of the plants. The planters are then backfilled with bark.
Montalba Architects is an award-winning practice, producing select architecture and urban design related projects by embracing a humanistic approach that considers not only a client’s needs and site considerations, but also the cultural and economic environment. With this process, solutions are realized that are contextual, yet conceptual and visionary in their intent, effect, and appeal.
A significant work of architecture expresses its purpose via physical solutions. As with any form of design, in architecture artful solutions are the goals to be sought. At Montalba Architects, these solutions are frequently inspired by our key values, which find physical expression in ways directly related to the particular client, program, and design problem.