Reception and the main accommodation stair
Atrium view and circulation route
Richly textured timber ceiling
The central shared cáfe
A richness of colour and materials
The reception and client area
The quirky construction built in the 1970s
Built in the 1970s, it is a unique, quirky construction – two hexagonal forms connected by an atrium, set in a luscious and beautifully maintained surrounding landscape. The internal character was essentially unchanged since occupation – highly cellular, full of corridors, tired. It was difficult to find your way around despite the small size of the building, and staff would spend large parts of the day without any contact with their colleagues.
Our brief was simply to refurbish the building in order to bring it into the modern era and to meet the needs of the business today – and to reflect its status as global HQ of a major corporation. Our analysis led us to our 3 main design objectives. Connecting the building to the landscape; Making the building legible and connecting people, through transparency, clarity of circulation and careful positioning of shared spaces; A richness of colour, materials and textures – and defining routes and spaces, while occasionally referencing the core product of the business.
In support of these aims, the existing fit-out was fully stripped out and renewed. The roof, external glazing and cladding were repaired or renewed, and a new atrium was created housing the reception, the main accommodation stair and the link bridge connecting the two original blocks.
The new scheme creates new offices - each on the perimeter, with views to the outside through new glazed picture windows - connected to each other through transparent fronts and across a central collaboration/shared services zone forming the heart of each block or “pod”.
These zones in turn are linked - across the new atrium from one block to another - by a new circulation route defined both by floor finishes and by a richly textured timber ceiling, which has associations with the sustainable timber which forms the source material for the company’s products. These routes connect the staff with the central shared cafe - the place where staff come together each day at break and meal times, rather than remaining in discrete coffee stations in individual blocks - and with the new atrium containing the reception and the client areas. This transparency and these routes connect all of the internal spaces to the light and landscape outside, orient you as you move through the building, and allow the occupants of offices to retain their ability to study and concentrate while being aware of movement and activity within the building.
Smurfit Kappa Group
Clonskeagh, Dublin 14