A research lab/office is conceived to stand in the heart of the printing company’s factory campus. A squarish plan was dictated by the existing buildings built around the site from different points in time, and the height of twenty-four metres was set according to statutory requirements. The resultant volume of the building is thus a nearly perfect square box with the lower three floors allocated to laboratories fitted with large machinery, and the upper three floors of research and management office.
Three strategies were employed architecturally to tweak the box—
1. a skin composed of four different shades of gray in glass and aluminium panels in the dimension of 800x3900 wraps around the whole building in the fashion of a sun-path diagram. The darker and lighter shades of grays are positioned to regulate views and natural light according to each facade’s orientation. The lower portion of the building, where the labs are located which require highly specific controlled indoor environment, has its façade pattern in the darker range of the grays integrated to the whole composition.
2. just thirty metres shy of the busy waterway to the building’s north, the ‘box’ jugs out in its mid-section to accommodate the views to the sky, the panoramic distant view, and the river itself. This gesture also generates a front section that houses the public functions of the building with the main entrance situated below.
3. a void punched through the upper three floors of office spaces is placed at the centre of the building through to the roof. This vertical shaft allows daylight to penetrate through to this portion of the building where natural light is scarce because of the deep plan, and it also allows the staffs to interact more easily between the three office floors and the roof terrace, an essential provision for a building that emphasizes on exchanges, innovation, and sharing of ideas.