Thon Eiendom

Breathing life into dead space

Lots of buildings in urban areas have spaces that once had a function, but are now unused. Most of these buildings have, with the right program and understanding of the people who are going to use it, a transformation potential. For owners and developers there are obvious upsides in utilizing as much as possible of the unused space. In addition, reprograming and bringing dead space back to life is one of the sustainable solutions to the rapid increase in housing and office demands in the bigger Norwegian cities.

The brief: In this spirit, Thon Eiendom challenged us to come up with a new concept and transform the entrance hall of the old Rikshospitalet in Pilestredet Park 31. The space of approximately 350 square meters is located in a central part of the city, with recognizable spatial potential. Yet, it had been a dead space for several years.

Comte Bureau solution: Given the spatial qualities and building regulations it was clear from the start that the most ROI friendly direction was to work with an office concept.
We started with a study of the potential target groups (businesses) that could eventually use the space, and what kind of businesses and customer needs that existed in the area. One of the key questions here was whether the office should consist of B2B or B2C businesses, and what the needs of the different business types were. Based on these results, we ran volumetric studies and tested the efficiency and adaptability of the space to fit different programs. We decided to transform the space into office facilities fitted to several different companies that worked B2B with cross-disciplinary approaches. In offices such as these, different projects require different ways of working. In addition, our studies of target groups revealed a need for offices that served as more than just an office. An urban office, anno 2015, should also facilitate how people live their lives; the distinction between work and private life is not longer so evident for everyone. We wanted to design an office that was fitted for those of us that live to work, and not the other way around. Therefore, as a result, the main requirements for this project was spatial adaptability.
The result is a flexible floor plan with the right combination of working, meeting and relaxing areas. At the center, we designed the main meeting room “a house inside the house”. The “house” divides the central space, creating pockets of different programs all around. Behind the ‘house’, we designed a small amphitheater for informal presentations. For those that live in the office, we designed a fully-equipped kitchen, as well as a room for contemplation as well as a locker-room. To address the different ways of working, the office areas are a combination of several office layouts, from open space, to cell offices and workshop rooms.
The result is a playful, colorful and flexible office where productivity happens beyond the working hours. It is also the office Comte Bureau decided to move into.