Main image ©Oleg Kovalyuk
The global World Architects News (WAN) Awards are judged by an extensive panel of top international experts, who put entries through a rigorous and trusted process and reinforce the awards’ truly global outlook.
In this year’s fiercely contested facade category, the panel looked for designs that break boundaries, set new architectural tones and bring innovation in all aspects – from headquarters to learning institutions, this year’s winner had it all.
Walls & Roofs Magazine is proud to bring you a close-up of this year’s overall winner of the facades category, the RCC Headquarters in Russia, by Foster + Partners.
The new headquarters of RCC, one of the world’s leading producers of copper, reimagines the conventional cellular office to set new standards in quality, comfort and flexibility, and has now been officially opened. The project signifies Foster + Partners’ first office building in Russia and has now also won them the coveted GOLD WAN Award in the facades category!
RCC is one of the world’s leading producers of copper and the building’s triangulated elements draw inspiration from the crystal lattice of copper. The crown of the building integrates RCC’s new logo – a rebranding which has, in turn, been inspired by the architecture.
Idea of office space revolutionised
Luke Fox, head of studio at Foster + Partners, said: “The new headquarters of RCC exemplifies the practice’s commitment to innovation and marks the culmination of a long and fruitful process. Our integrated team developed a holistic vision that is rooted in the way RCC operates, completely revolutionising the traditional idea of office spaces and creating a flexible modular system that responds to the changing patterns of work.”
The starting point for the office floors was to reinvent the headquarters as a “house for staff” – instead of the conventional large, communal workspaces, the rooms are in a more intimate, domestic scale.
The practice’s workplace consultancy group analysed the client’s operations and helped to devise the innovative modular system for these rooms. This was then developed with the in-house engineering teams to enable rapid construction and ensure ideal levels of natural daylight for concentrated work.
Each two-storey module comprises a pair of offices, stacked one on top of the other – this is expressed externally through the double-storey cladding module. The modules are arranged in rows on either side of a central hallway, which functions as a breakout space, with lounge seating and views of the city through the glazed lift shaft. At level 15, the space is top-lit (through the glass lanterns) to create a flexible space for company-wide gatherings and events.
The design targets a BREEAM excellent rating. Responding to Ekaterinburg’s wide temperature range between seasons – often from +30°C to -30°C – the balance between solid and glazed areas is designed as a reaction to low-level winter sun, while mitigating the heat of direct sunlight during the summer.
The glass facades overlook the city and the recently landscaped riverbank. The green area reaches the building’s facades and flows into a private garden for the staff. The landscaping echoes the cellular internal arrangement, with a sequence of “external rooms” that provide peaceful spaces for staff to relax and eat lunch. Further facilities within the building include a video conference room and boardroom, meeting spaces and an executive dining area.
Jeremy Kim, partner at Foster + Partners, added: “Everything from the building structure to the bespoke furniture was designed specifically for the company, illustrating our commitment to craftsmanship.”
KEY PROJECT FACTS AND FIQUERES
RCC Headquarters – Ekaterinburg, Russia, 2012 – 2020.
Client: RCC (Russian Copper Company).
Appointment date: 2012.
Construction starts: 2015.
Completion date: 2020.
Site area: 2 415m².
Area (gross): 19 150m².
Total area of the building: 14 045m².
Total area of underground parking: 5 105m².
Typical floor area: 943m².
Number of offices: 123.
Number of floors: Three basements and 15 levels above ground.
• Structure: In-situ white concrete structure, unitised cladding system comprising triple-glazed units and bronze effect micro-ribbed stainless steel.
• Main materials: Fair-faced white concrete for structure and interiors, PVD-coated, micro-ribbed stainless steel for facade cladding, glass, natural timber and marble for interiors.
• Capacity: 450 employees.
• Facilities: Offices/meeting/dining/private garden.
• Parking facilities: 85 cars, two disabled, 32 bicycles.
• Cladding system: Unitised cladding system comprising triple-glazed units and bronze effect micro-ribbed stainless steel.
• BREEAM ratings: Targeting BREEAM excellent.
• Energy and carbon: Faceted facade modules, shielding against summer solar gains which can average 30°C.
• Inclined lower glazing maximises winter sun into the offices. Glazing covers a maximum 50% of the facade, reducing heat loss during extreme winters.
• Mobility and connectivity: Good public transport connections.
• EV charging stations and cycling facilities.
• Land and ecology: Regeneration of an inner-city brownfield site. Landscaping provides increased biodiversity and promotes native plant species.
• Wellbeing: Two-storey modular design.
• Large atriums and innovative facade design optimise views and daylight.
• Facade reduces glare through its angled glazing.
• External garden promotes biophilia, quality views, open spaces and social interaction.
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