31 Mar 2016

Tour Focus: AZKONobel Centre

In January 2016, the employees of AkzoNobel moved into their new office. The work environment, with approximately 700 work stations, was designed to optimally facilitate ‘New Working’.
The 10-story AkzoNobel Centre is characterized by transparency and a richly layered fa├žade, which combines a glass climate wall with finished wood structural elements. The use of durable high-quality coatings in subtly blended colours is a direct reference to AkzoNobel’s core business: coatings, paints and lacquers.
The public platform on the ground floor provides a natural transition from the adjacent plaza and gives the Zuidas a lively public area. A total of 1,300 sq meters of the ground floor will be used as a museum/art gallery with free entrance for both personnel, visitors and anybody else interested to have a look at the art collection.
This tour at the BCO Annual Conference 2016 brings you to the newest eye-catcher on the Amsterdam Zuidas and will be presented by AkzoNobel’s real estate director Roland Huitink and architect Folkert van Hagen.

30 Mar 2016

Does where and how we work affect productivity?

As bosses seek to boost output and drive business growth, the productivity of office workers is under more scrutiny than ever.

So what role does the format of the workplace have to play? For most, the open-plan office is now the norm, while improvements in the capability and availability of technology mean that more and more of us are choosing to abandon a permanent desk altogether and work wherever and whenever we want.

But is this way of working fostering greater collaboration and boosting productivity - or are we inadvertently creating a distracted and inefficient workforce?

In her talk, Katrina will look at the relationship between where – and how – we work, and how productive we are. Analysing the requirements and expectations of differing employee demographics, she will explore the building blocks needed to create a productive workspace – and what this means for those seeking to create an efficient work environment.

With three decades in commercial development and workplace design, and with an 'inside-out' architectural philosophy that puts the individual first, Katrina is uniquely qualified to comment on this topical issue.

Katrina Kostic Samen will be part of our panel session discussing office design on Thursday 12 May at the BCO Annual Conference 2016

18 Mar 2016

WWF Headquarters - Living Proof

Living Proof, written by Richard Byatt for FM World, considers the art and science of user briefings with a look at the WWF-UK's award-winning Living Planet Centre.  By any measure, the Woking headquarters of international conservation charity WWF is a successful building, having won multiple awards, including the BCO's 2015 National Innovation Award. The entrenched passion for nature that WWF holds can now be practiced as well as preached through their sustainable building, brought to life by Hopkins Architects and AMA Alexi Marmot Associates.
AMA's Alexi Marmot, explains that one of the key aspects as to just how the Living Planet Centre has been such a successful building and workplace lies in understanding how an organisation ticks; using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research and immersive staff engagement.
Having the right people in place is also vitally important, as is space planning; and so armed with appropriate research, Hopkins Architects were able to deliver three different scenarios for WWF-UK to choose from: BAU, Mild Green and Deep Green. WWF of course opted for the Deep Green scenario, which came with high sustainability and a large space for the visitor centre and educational suite.
Wholly,  the fundamental component to a successful workplace transition seems to be communication, communication and more communication. That there were minimal changes from the early designs during the project phase and that very few people have left WWF because of either the new location or the changes work environment, demonstrates the positive effect of all the planning, briefing and communication.
Click here to read Richard's full article. To see this inspiring project for yourself, why not join us at the BCO talk and tour of the Living Planet Centre on 12th April. Click here to book your place.