In “The global city: New York, London; Tokyo” (1991) Saskia Sassen describes the global competition to attract large international corporations. A competition where high quality resources and international network are essential but local roots seams whiteout value. Corporate Social Responsibility is becoming central for many companies. Terms like People, Planet and Profit are emerging. These values seam to overlap the resent reviews of Copenhagen that leaves an image of a city with creative responsible low hierarchy modern lifestyle. “Whatever space and time may mean, place and occasion mean more” This is the word of Aldo Van Eyck at the 11.th CIAM congress 1959. With this in mind would it be more appropriate to root the social responsible corporation locally? And how would such a headquarter look if rooted in Copenhagen? This is the premise of this project.
The headquarters location in a transitional zone between residential neighbourhood in east and west, point to a solution that contributes in bridging the two areas. Due to its isolated location, the Headquarter need to activate and enrich the site and become an attraction in it self. The solution is an open weaving complex that invites and allow life to flourish between the buildings. The program consists of a mix of functions with varying time span, which contribute to activity beyond normal working hours. All extroverted function is located at ground level. Private spaces are held above ground level.
Roads bound the site on two sides and a bike route runs through it as well. There is a latent need for a footpath from the northeast to the Metro at southwest. The combination of these conditions and the open structure of the complex will contribute to the activity at the site.
To ensure activity around the clock the complex includes four magnets, which attracts people at different time of the day. The magnets consist of a sport centre, a learning centre, a dormitory and a convention centre, each referring to different groups in the neighbourhood and with different rhythm of activity.
In-between the four magnets a repetitive structure of bars contains the headquarters offices. The large complex of repetitive shape is a representation of the individual employee, which together forms a union. The different offices except administration are equally weighted and spread out across the entire site. This supports a very flexible use of the offices and reflects the low hierarchy of the company.
Residence units are spread out on top of the offices. Each made up of a two-storey unit with internal staircase. It houses private function in the upper floor and common function in the lower floor. Orientation of windows is facing away from the shared access area.
Service functions like cafe and shops is located underneath the offices. The headquarter has no central canteen but is serviced by at range of privately owned cafes and restaurants. These different services are for employees and external customers as well.
A meadow is weaving in-between the buildings. The wild meadow handles the rainwater and is some places more wet and inaccessible than other places. The rough and shifting nature of the meadow appeals to an informal and low key atmosphere. The meadow is a representation of the nearby open green field.
The ever shifting structure of buildings and open spaces opens it self to a boardwalk along Njalsgade, thus inviting people in to the site and the south facing cafes. A bicycle route doubles as footpath and twist like a backbone trough the complex. It supplies the different functions like offices, dormitory, day-care and medical centre along its way. The path cuts its way trough the buildings, that occasional opens up for views to Njalsgade.
A large opening in the middle of the complex marks the main entrance and the administration.
The main structure of repetitive bars is the dominant element on the site. It defines the pavement, the service functions, the offices and the residential units. The rough and heavy base is made of concrete and red tiles. Its support the precise and light upper part made of steal. The combination of small elements in the facade and the continuously use of offset makes the scale of the structure human and easy to relate to. The different paved areas are connected by means of wood bridges. Wood platforms are also used as intermediate levels between the tilled pavement and the meadow.
The way the structure is designed makes it easy to arrange the interior. The small scale and many offsets prevents monotonous and institutional interior. This makes it easy to furnish small cells as well as larger landscapes. The 5 meter module is practical for one-man offices and offices for several persons. The widely use of terraces makes it easy to work in open air and contribute to populate the outdoor spaces. East/west daylight is controlled by means of flexible vertical shutters, thus limiting direct sunlight and insight from opposite windows but allowing views to the sky and ground. Large canopies protect the interior against the southern daylight but secure views along the dominant north/south direction.