Architects: MAT Office
Project: Beaver Workshop Office Space
Location: Beijing, China
Photography: Courtesy of MAT Office
Beaver Workshop Office Space is an innovative work space tailored for a film and media company. It is located in a business park for creative industries, which was transformed from a concrete factory, in Chaoyang District, Beijing. The original space was a single-story truss-structured warehouse, containing three spans, with net height 6 metres and ridge height 9 metres. The client expects to double the usable area by adding an interlayer, thus fulfilling the functional requirements of animation, art, screenwriting, directing, producing, and logistics sections.
We expands the usable space by inserting a multi-opening box which occupied more than half of the site: an atrium and all the inward rooms as Independent offices, meeting rooms, rehearsal room and logistical spaces are contained in the box, while the flowing space outside the box are left for open work space. The client wants to create a flexible, interactive, equal, and fun space atmosphere to inspire employees’ creativity. A split-level strategy is applied to arrange the large conference room and the animation rehearsal room so that people from both first and second level can see the activities inside these spaces. The flowing space creates unique experiences by the collaboration of five different levels and the multi-opening walls.
Public areas are vital compositions in this innovative office project, and practitioners in creative industries would expect comfortable and relaxing public spaces with life-like experience in this kind of office projects. The atrium connects first and second floor vertically, with lamps and potted plants hanging above a long table, in order to serve a perfect place for presentation, open conference, brainstorming, and team-building party. The tea corner, instead of being enclosed as in a traditional office space, is enlarged into an island bar, providing a recreation spot and networking platform as well as a space for temporary small meeting and brainstorming. The highlight of public space is the atrium area on the second floor: sunlight flooding in through the skylights, hanging plants running through the whole space from roof to the first floor, work space for art and directing section outside the multi-opening box, while on the inside the rehearsal room, the conference room, and the independent office on third floor. Almost every space is making connection with this central area spatially or visually.
There are mainly three features in the design of this office space:
1, Due to the extension layers inside the space, the vertical circulation between levels merges out as the primary issue in the space. We decided to choose the longest path, the one spiraling up along the box. The extended path enriches the spatial experience during walking and increases the sense of volume.
2, Since the client is a film and animation media company, contextualized spatial experience would be the best way to interpreting their characteristics and corporate culture. In Beaver Workshop Office Space, the spiral path links up different office scenes in working areas, meeting areas and recreation areas, with these scenes independent functionally but connected spatially.
3, The insertion of the multi-opening box allows multi-layered penetration and flow in the space. Every independent scene linked up by the path can interact with each other visually, endowing this space a transparent feature in phenomenon.