FROM THE AIA:
When the American law firm K&L Gates merged with a UK-based organization in 2005, the firm decided to increase its presence in London. For its new home, the firm chose the unbuilt One New Change, a mixed-use complex designed by Jean Nouvel and located across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The complex form of the building posed both opportunities and challenges for the design. One New Change is designed to celebrate St. Paul’s; the visual focal point is an arcade, or “apse,” which splits the building in half and directs views to the cathedral. The cascading rooflines and faceted exterior walls that accentuate this view corridor create interior spaces with low ceiling heights, which limit occupancy. By locating the reception area, conference rooms, breakout spaces, and café along the apse, dramatic views were enhanced and spatially awkward areas minimized. A two-story multipurpose room creates drama and also counteracts an otherwise compromised area.
The space (120,000 rsf), designed to promote synergy among employees, provides opportunities for cross-practice business development and increased productivity. Parallel to the development of flexible, interactive work spaces was the creation of public spaces designed to enhance the firm’s business. The transparency and openness of the work spaces promote and support interaction of all types, drawing employees out of closed rooms and promoting new patterns of communication.
Sustainability was an important goal for the project, which was assessed by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). The BREEAM assessor provided guidance and best practice advice throughout the project, an approach that proved through experience to offer the surest route to certification and to holistic sustainable design. An “excellent” rating was not achievable because of limitations imposed by the base building. However, the project was able to earn a “very good” rating with a high margin, making it one of the first fit-out projects to be BREEAM certified.
For more information on the 2014 AIA Honor Awards, please visit http://www.aia.org/practicing/awards/2014/interior-architecture/kl-gates/