Books and Papers Tomás Swett 10.11.2013

Rethinking Office Building Typology

Current office designs lack consideration of climatic factors, urban context and new technologies. The result is a global office building typology with high demand of energy but little response to new working activities, workspace requirements or the physical context. All these factors must be considered in the design process, being essential the review of current office building typologies. Thus, the aim of this project was to develop a design method for new office buildings in Continental Mediterranean climate. Global problems, new tendencies and worldwide standards were reviewed, creating a new scenario for the design application. The environmental design strategies and spatial configurations established were applied in a hypothetical urban context in Santiago.

Four key design concepts were established as the essence of the new design method. First, “companies´ village” was the layout proposed to respond to the new activities and markets requirements. Second, the office layout was divided in several zones according to the internal conditions and request, creating “independent buildings”. Third, plan and building form should be adaptable in relation to site conditions, market demands and users, being fundamental the “flexibility” of the project. Lastly, the impact of physical context demands a façade “parametric adaptability” being able to respond to different scenarios.

Finally, a “cracked block” was the architectural concept used to create a new image of office buildings. The plan was divided into several blocks by irregular openings, which separate the different working activities. These “fissures” provided transitional zones between spaces and allowed daylighting and fresh air into the atrium. The building facades were designed to vary in response to the impact of physical context in terms of solar radiation, annual loads and daylight requirements.

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