KI have provided Associated Architects with a bespoke, integrated storage solution for their new offices in the Birmingham Mailbox, designed by Associated Architects in 1998-99.
The practice has long promulgated leading workplace practice as promoted by the British Council for Offices (BCO) and implemented this for their clients. In bringing these objectives together it was also to be a showcase for its own design abilities.
The office provides a main studio with bench desks and an entire storage wall for project work. Three meeting spaces have been provided: a formal conference room with plasma screen; a working meeting room with interactive ICT and vertical sliding door to allow the space to be expanded; and a mezzanine space with library. The galley kitchen has become the social hub for the office: with flexible tables and seating it is also used for design reviews and working. A wall of recycled timber separates the studio from meeting rooms, guest toilets and reception. A separate meeting area front of house is provided for meeting technical representatives independent of the other spaces. Tables and sofas and a bean bag are sited on the studio side of the wall to extend the range of working environments.
Simon Jesson, Associate of Associated Architects commented: “KI were key in the development of the ideas from our initial concepts, to ensure that even the most unconventional equipment could find a home. The way we access the storage and filing has improved the way we work, making efficient use of the space within the office to ensure that the clutter of the old environment was not bought along into the new.”
Storage has been a real success. Based on careful audit of present and future requirements, there is proper provision for ordered and accessible space for project files, library, IT equipment, marketing materials and consumables.
Simon Jesson, Associate of Associated Architects continued: “It was important to find a system that was flexible enough to meet our new and changing demands, and robust enough to provide a day to day working environment accessible to all staff. With a mixture of flipper units at mid level for day to day access, drawers at low level for general paper filing, and high level units for longer term storage, samples, etc.”
The mezzanine meeting room was designed as a quieter working space, with the practice technical library houses in open shelving, and storage units with doors and drawers.
Despite advances in technology, Associated Architects needs to process large volumes of copying including large format drawings. A dedicated print room has been provided in order that the noise, pollution and heat gain issues can be controlled without disturbance to the main office space. Meeting rooms are proving effective in use, interactive IT providing a flexible and valuable resource. Allied with the extensive ICT provided there is ready access to the entire office system in all parts of the building.