Today's buildings are more like evolving landscapes than classical temples in which nothing can be added and nothing can be removed. Open ended, adaptable frameworks with large, well-serviced and well-lit floors, on the other hand, offer the possibility for a long life span for the building and a variety of possible uses. For example, Mossbourne Community Academy and Minami School will be able to adapt over time to progressive approaches to education. This concept was developed in earlier buildings such as Lloyd's of London and the Pompidou Centre, solutions that include spaces that can be used for multiple activities in the short term, as well as having many alternative long term uses depending on future requirements.
At Barajas Airport in Madrid the objective was to ensure that the architecture was robust enough to handle the amount of passengers estimated for forthcoming years. The one constant factor with airports is change, and so the essence of this scheme in constructional terms was its use of a single modular segment for the entire 1.2km long structure, allowing ease of expansion whilst disciplined in response to environmental constants such as day-lighting. Repetition of elements as an aid to the construction process can be seen at Chiswick Park, facilitated by design consistency across the individual buildings.
Office occupiers require flexible spaces in order to respond to contingencies in business life; they need to be able to extend and adapt buildings. A concept that incorporates a high level of standardised design will facilitate change.
For functional reasons we always create clear zoning between servant and served spaces within a building. We often separate and juxtapose the services with the mass of the building; in practical terms the part of the building which is inhabited has a long life, whereas the technical services have a short life and therefore need to be accessible for change and maintenance. By separating the mechanical services, lifts, electrics, fluids and air-conditioning from the rest of the building, inevitable technical developments can be incorporated where they are most needed to extend the life of usable core space. The articulation of the services and core building creates a clear three-dimensional language, a dialogue between served and servant spaces and a means of creating flexible floor space. Standardised large floor-plates with services placed on the perimeter have been successful in commercial buildings such as 88 Wood Street and Lloyd's Register, and allow for flexible tenancies that respond to the changing demands of the office market.
Our masterplans are defined by an holistic approach allowing for enough flexibility to accommodate changes over the lifespan of a city, in order to meet market demands. The practicalities and concept of a public place should be inherently flexible in order to respond to changes such as transport and density.
Our masterplans are predominantly not derived from form alone but are concerned with facilitating the movement of people between places, creating a critical mass for successful people spaces and the potential for land to accommodate different uses over time.
Copyright © 2014 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP. All rights reserved.