Neptun Office Centre



Out of the Box Approach

After winning an invited architectural design competition, AD-Studio were commissioned to develop their competition entry into the full design for a new office tower in Gdansk, northern Poland. The client was Hines, the leading international property developer who had built other projects of this scale and complexity in Poland before. They invited us to the competition because we had demonstrated previously on other projects our “out of the box” approach to challenging site constraints.

Working with Sunlight

The site for the tower came with many challenges, the most difficult one being the building code requirements to allow natural sunlight through to small residential buildings north of the land plot. A three-dimensional sun path study was completed to analyse the maximum volume we could realistically build without compromising the sunlight rights of the neighbouring properties.  Building a tower in a low density area comes with considerable responsibility.  Not only do you have to adhere to the relevant code requirements you must also study the potentially detrimental qualitative effect that the towers’ shadow may cause on the communities nearby. 

Through an iterative process and numerous studies of alternative forms we slowly moved towards a commercially viable tower form that minimized its impact on the neighbours.  We could now study the floor plates and consider core positions, tenant divisions, constructional buildability, and net to gross efficiency. The building was designed and delivered fully in BIM – which for buildings of this type makes the process much more efficient.  The building from the outset was designed to meet very high sustainability targets and achieved BREEAM certification.

A Contextual Tower with an asymmetrical core

The final building has a podium 5 stories high that creates a datum on the development that responds to the height of the neighbouring buildings, above this point the tower volume starts and extends up to 19 levels in height.  The view from the top is spectacular and a keen selling point for the owners and the tenants.

As a result of the site constraints, the typical floor plate is less than 1000 sqm. in leasable area – which is relatively small for a tower. Due to the narrow width of the floorplate we decided to utilize an untypical side core solution – leaving the tenant space as one large room rather than the more typical ‘donut’ of office space around a central core.  This resulted in very clean tenant spaces that still divided neatly for multi-tenanted floors.  The building filled up incredibly quickly with tenants once released into the market.  The unique combination of small floorplates but with great views wasn’t matched by any other buildings in the city – the client even stated he could have easily added a few more floors.  

Maximising the Podium

The podium volume contains office space as well as shared facilities for the tenants and the public, meeting rooms, retail and food outlets.  The podium almost extends to every square centimeter of the plot – making construction very challenging – especially as it sits above a 3 storey parking basement that accommodates 160 parking spaces.   

The tower development frames the short end of a long public square and it’s ground level functions help activate the public space.  Even though the development is significantly taller than the neighbouring building – it sits comfortably within its context – with the height offering magnificent views across the city for the building’s tenants.

Breaking the Geometry

The building’s facades are modern and fresh with the overall tower volume cut on its main façade with diagonal lines that express the break line in the façade geometry needed by the rights of light issues.  The predominantly glazed facades utilise high performance glazing to reduce solar heat gain and to keep the demand on the air conditioning systems significantly lower. 

From Outside to Inside

The simple, elegant approach of the external facades of the building are carried through into the buildings’ interior. With a luxurious double height entrance hall there is an immediate impression of prestige upon arrival. The geometry of the external paving runs straight through into the entrance hall adding to feel of being welcoming and an extension of the public realm.  

As you make your way to the reception desk and lift lobbies at the end of the entrance hall you will pass the sculptural stairway that leads visitors up to the mezzanine level where you will have access to a generous serviced conferencing suite. 

Purple is used as a subtle accent colour highlighting key points in the space like the built in couch, feature end walls and lift door portals.  Oversized light fittings that can be easily seen from the public square hang in the double height space spreading light evenly.  At night the whole end of the square is lit by the entrance hall making it much more safe and friendly.

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