architecture: public buildings

Benchmark Business Center

Sofia, Bulgaria

Description:
Commercial Center and Offices
Surface: 35 000 m²
Client: Benchmark
Project: 2005-2008
Completed: 2009

The strategic position of Benchmark Business Center in the immediate vicinity of Tsarigradsko Shosse, which is a natural extension of one of the main national routes (Thrace motorway), determines the design and the need to build an architectural and urban composition, marking the eastern entrance to Sofia. For the specific purpose an office building with two-level-underground parking, with entry and exit ramps with direct access to the street network, with two levels of commercial area – shops, restaurant, cafeteria, and with offices on twelve levels is designed.

The double-skin facade on the southwest side, the most exposed to the sunlight, is energy-efficient, and also forms an effective noise barrier against the boulevard rackets. The servant spaces and the vertical communications, situated in the building’s core, are separated by the atrium from the served spaces, where offices are found. Thus the walls are replaced with a vertical space, with daylight and vegetation, contributing for the creation of a communication space. The office spaces are eleven meters wide with daylight coming from both sides, and in that way, they are very flexible in their multipurpose use.

An access path to the new building is provided by a local piece of five meters, which is accessed directly from Tsarigradsko Shosse, direction Plovdiv – Sofia.

The main entrance is oriented to the boulevard, forming in this part a square space, highlighting the importance of the building. External space passes in the tub inside plaza, which is further enhanced by large-scale atrium resolved with interesting and unusual landscaping, attractive, natural and artificial lighting and panoramic elevators. Its major atrium space, which goes through all fourteen levels, as well as the two minor atria beside it bring into the whole office space a natural daylight.

Every employee has his/her own “nest” adjacent to these “daylight and greenery wells”. They must remain small or functional problems will be created, if horizontal distances between employees grow. That’s why the building can’t be higher than three or four floors. Otherwise, these tiny atria will be disproportionate which means that their height will dominate their width.

It is sad to see today, at the beginning of the 21st century, that most office buildings in the world offer poor working conditions. This affects directly our quality of life. In our dynamic and stressful everyday lives, we need more daylight, green plants, and above all, new spatial solutions as opposed to the endless dark corridors leading to awful cages. One reason for the constantly rising problems in our societies is our utterly unsatisfactory working environment. Alas, today the quality of an office is usually measured by the degree of technical equipment such as suspended ceilings, double floors, and air-conditioning. But where is the human factor? The worst of all, the proliferation of mediocre but attractively wrapped “junk” offices continues!


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