VTN Architects’ Urban Farming Office is a creative eden wrapped in a biophilic facade
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•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Jan 31, 2022
Headed by Principal Architects Lida Almassian and Shahin Hedari, New Wave Architecture is a Tehran-based practice that channels a globalist and contemporary outlook on the architectural discipline to fashion innovative and distinctive moments of aesthetic expression. Their latest project, the Turbosealtech New Incubator and Office Building, exemplifies this maxim in certain respects. Settled within the Pardis Science and Technology Park in a suburb of Iran's capital, the structure possesses an instantly arresting cantilevered form that rises up from the earth in an angled trajectory, eerily reminiscent of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. On the other hand, its angular structure, encased in a sheath of glass and latticed aluminium, evokes a machine-like transparency and lightness, avoiding the classical sensibilities of a similar IM Pei-designed glass pyramid in Paris, to better fit into its more technologically-driven context of an office park.
According to the architects, this immense feat of design and engineering actually emerged from a search for methods to maximise on-site views and mitigate excessive heat gain during the region's hot summers. Uniting technology, function, and landscape design in an envelope that is rife with strong industrial-style references, the office building aims to offer a venue for professionals to conduct important research and spearhead innovation, within a development that has become a hub for Iranian architects to express their visions of the future.
Honouring this very principle, the architects share that the building’s current morphology was conceptualised through the subtraction of a segment from an obtuse-angled prism placed on the site, which created the cantilevered section along the building’s front. The resulting form obliquely juts out from the ground beneath it, conveying a rigid monumentality that contradicts its seemingly unstable configuration, but is sure to induce a sense of awe in the mind of practically any viewer. A pair of sloped pathways branch off from the open public space preceding the building, shaded by its looming canopy. To one side, a curving ramp guides vehicles to the basement parking, while another walkway beckons visitors towards the main entrance, framed by pockets of flora along the base of the cantilever.
Glass panels wrap around the majority of the structure’s volume, to allow ample natural light into the interior - as is the case in most explorations in office architecture today, owing to the often deep plans and tightly-knit spatial programming seen in such buildings. However, New Wave Architecture’s interpretation of this convention employs a second layer of aluminium profiles arranged in a grid-like frame above the glazing, to screen incident light and add more rhythm to the façade design. Although most aluminium sections conform to the square grid, some have been slanted to avoid monotony.
This configuration further contributes to the building’s perspective-altering geometry when viewed from the inside, as the contradictions between the floor planes and external grid make the structure appear to balance on a knife edge as it frames the surrounding urban skyline in a unique vein. Alternatively, the volume’s inclined rear surface is carpeted by a green roof which extends from the landscape below, infusing an element of sustainable design, due to its ability to absorb heat and reduce energy consumption.
Equipped with 2500 sqm of functional area spread out over five levels (three above ground and two below), the office building’s internal zoning has been composed to encourage interaction - as per the architects, with all floors linked by a transparent elevator. The two subterranean floors primarily host storage spaces and parking, while the ground level accommodates a reception, lobby, and restrooms. Additionally, an open plan workhouse has been placed on the lower levels, overlooked by a viewing platform accessible from the lobby. This planning measure was adopted to provide visitors with a glimpse of the company’s daily operations.
Offices occupy virtually all of the space on the first floor, apart from a terrace space towards the back which has been placed within a void cut out from the green corridor along the sloping roof. This zone acts as a shared outdoor space that allows light to proliferate further into the interior while granting employees a recreational area to convene and unwind. The second floor contains conference spaces, a guest room, and an office for upper management, behind a second lobby that connects to the voided terrace below. As part of the energy-conscious design measures adopted through the building, architects have also embedded a water tank nearby to harvest rainwater for non-potable uses on-site.
Having taken over six years to complete from the initial design stage in 2016, to its opening in 2022, the Turbosealtech New Incubator and Office Building’s sheer theatricality and shock value speak for themselves - a testament to the imagination and virtuosity of those that brought it to life. A stellar achievement that dares to go against the grain and re-envision the typology of office design, the structure is an eye-catching addition to its setting that is likely to inspire similar architectural innovation in its vicinity over the coming years.
Name: Turbosealtech New Incubator and Office Building
Location: Pardis Science & Technology Park
Area: 2500 sqm
Client: Turbosealtech Company
Year of Completion: 2022
Architect: New Wave Architecture
Principal Architects: Lida Almassian, Shahin Heidari
Team: Soheila Zahedi, Sheida Ghotbi, Pary Pour Moghadam, Maryam Shokouhi, Shirin Zeaei, Ilnaz Ashayerei, Niloufar Moradi, Golrokh Heydarian
Structural, Mechanical & Electrical Consultant: New Wave Architecture
Structural Design Supervisor: Hamed Jilani
Structural Design Team: Matin Mohammadpour, Melika Sandani
Façade Contractor: Pars Amoud Co
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