Munich Germany based architectural practice BENJAMIN HAUPT ARCHITEKT has developed a program for a special office space for the Audi Trainer Academy in Beijing, China. The office space serves as an educational think-tank and training hub for Asia. It was our intention to provide the client with an open working environment encouraging free communication, collaboration and social inclusiveness. To better define some of the programs BHA designed two function boxes. One box houses a copy/equipment room, and the other houses the manager’s office. The aluminum-clad boxes were used as furniture-like cubes that defined smaller territories within the larger open space, floating over an expansive woven vinyl floor. The function boxes and desks are positioned to ensure that people move about the space in a circuitous way – promoting casual social encounters as well as a variety of views within the space.
For the materiality and construction of the function boxes, we explored schemes that reflected the scale and function of the program pieces: public/private, open/intimate, hard/soft, cool/warm. With these in mind, we designed the boxes as objects with a hard outer skin and softer interior – large aluminum sheets enveloping intimately-scaled oak-clad volumes. For the box interiors, all surfaces are clad in oak – as though the boxes were luxurious containers, simply delivered to the open space. In order to maintain the simple, clean volumes at the interior and exterior, BHA specified ‘invisible’ hardware for the function boxes. Smaller aluminum and wood volumes can be extracted from the function boxes – used as tables or stools, distributed within the space whenever needed by the occupants.