K11E is a contemporary office building, and more – the client, the future tenants and the design team have from the beginning all worked together to create a rational, flexible, and pleasant working environment with some special design features for added value.
Two previously existing staircases and lifts which were limiting in terms of floor layout, have been dismantled; vertical circulation now happens in a newly added, efficient building volume, and a central WC core serves each floor. Thus, the best quality of the retained column grid is revealed – a completely flexible layout. Every floor may serve one tenant or be subdivided in 2, 4 or more parts; layout-wise, it can all be open-office or individual offices, or anything in between. All these possibilities have been analysed and weighed together with the client, the tenants, and the future users; each resulting floor layout is different and adjusted to the needs and wants of its users.
To ensure users’ well-being, most of the small land plot is green; the 6th floor roof contains both green and terraced parts; the 7th floor roof is all green. Many bike stands are provided by the entrances, as are landscaping and benches for comfort, shared-use showers on ground floor, and at least 1 accessible WC on each floor (2 on each typical floor).
Aesthetically, both the client and the architects wanted to be true to this piece of soviet industrial heritage including its many imperfections. The structural elements – pre-cast columns, beams, floor panels and steel ties – have been retained, refurbished according to contemporary safety and fire standards, and exhibited in the interiors. Pre-cast facade panels have been dismantled on the main and end facades, and replaced with fully glazed curtain walls providing the soft northern light offices need. Newly added building elements have been chosen to represent the standards of current industrial production: aluminium curtain walls and partitions, pre-cast insulated facade panels, pre-cast stairs, raised access floors – as well as all the building systems.
Finally, an extra layer of added value has been added to all this industrial aesthetic by introducing custom design features: the glazed façade contains a parametric printed pattern – a geometric play on the graphic identity of the client – providing both privacy and a visual anchor; pre-cast concrete panels feature profiling to match; and on the ground floor, a dark in-situ terrazzo floor containing a custom distribution of white stones as a free-form play on the same motif. Extra attention has been paid to shared space interiors, including lift lobbies, staircase, shared meeting rooms, entrance area with a custom-made reception desk and canteen interior.