Contract - Luxe + Lean: IA designs an eco-friendly headquarters for Bancolombia

design - features - corporate design



Luxe + Lean: IA designs an eco-friendly headquarters for Bancolombia

01 May, 2010

-By Jean Nayar



If Bancolombia is to fulfill its mission of becoming a universal bank in Colombia—as well as a leading financial institution in other countries in Latin America—then its new headquarters in Medellín, Colombia, surely will go a long way toward enabling it to do so. Not only is the sleek, 1.3-million-sq.-ft. facility efficient, flexible, highly functional, and environmentally friendly, but it also incorporates a rich mix of amenities, takes advantage of extraordinary views, and houses a top-notch art collection. While the banking institution’s ability to maximize bang for its buck doubtlessly accounts for much of the quality of its design, its abundance of attributes also is certainly due in no small part to the philosophy of its designers at IA/Interior Architects, who were able to apply their design-from-the-inside-out approach to the new from-the-ground-up building.

The decision to construct a new headquarters was made while Bancolombia was undergoing a merger with other financial institutions. The objective was to consolidate many of the bank’s various administrative areas and affiliates into a single building. According to Augusto Restrepo, administrative vice president of Bancolombia, the bank also aimed “to achieve better efficiency ratios for the group by reducing expenses of 15 buildings spread out around the city and to increase the productivity and happiness of our people,” by creating a well-designed workplace.

Constructed at a total cost of $190 million and located on a narrow site on the northwest edge of Medellín’s El Poblado neighborhood, the new 12-story facility actually comprises two separate buildings adjoined by two enclosed double-height skyway bridges linking four of the upper levels of the buildings. “One of the key drivers of this design was flexibility,” says Julio Braga, the principal in charge of design in IA’s New York office. “Since the client’s largest real estate expense was the cost of reconfiguring spaces—a lot of dollars were spent on churn—they wanted to know how they could adapt their workspaces at lower cost and with lower impact. We developed several schemes, the client chose one that incorporated column-free floor plates, and we were able to work with the building architects to develop a structure that was based on their internal needs.” Each of the two towers designed by the core and shell architects, a joint venture partnership between the Colombia-based firms AIA and Convel, features long, narrow floor plates—40,000 sq. ft. per plate in the north tower and 68,000 sq. ft. in the south—that fit snugly into the linear site. The lower four stories of each building are dedicated to parking, and the upper levels house office and conference spaces, and a fitness center, cafeteria, lounge, and roof deck on top.

In the office areas, 98 percent of each floor is dedicated to workstations, which are organized along spines that extend through the floors. The primary circulation paths wrap around the perimeters, and the few enclosed offices are located near the core and at the ends of the spines. “When we went through programming interviews, we began to understand how they work and discovered they were very open-office-intensive in their original spaces,” says Mary Lee Duff, IA principal who led the workplace strategies/programming. “They had 12 different types of workstations, most of them 5 ft. by 6 ft., and four different private offices. We streamlined the standard to a 6-ft. by 6-ft.-module, which became the key metric for the design and was one of the rare instances in which we actually increased the size of the dominant footprint.” Based on this module, the architects condensed the number of workstations and offices for 5,000 of the bank’s 17,000 employees to four sizes, 6-ft. by 6-ft. and 6-ft. by 12-ft. workstations, 12-ft. by 12-ft. private offices, and 12-ft. by 24-ft. executive offices. “Since the tax on importing furniture is high—40 to 50 percent—it was easier and less expensive to design custom systems with flexibility built in,” says Braga.

Color and art by Latin American artists add energy and lend distinction to different areas of the office floors. “There are three cores in the building, and color became the strategy for wayfinding,” says Duff. “We defined each section with a different color—red, blue, or yellow—which are the bank’s colors, and the country’s colors, too.” Thoughtful amenities, such as restaurants and dining areas, a modern fitness center, and large sun decks with a panoramic view of the city, enhance the spirit of the workplace. And sustainable design features, such as sensor-activated automatic blinds that regulate natural light and the internal temperature of the building, enhance its efficiency. Bancolombia and the architects, along with Brightworks, the green consultant on the project, are pursuing a LEED-EB rating for the building, which, if achieved, would make it the first LEED-EB-certified building in South America.

“Since the building opened, the bank has conducted tours on weekends, and during the first four months after it opened 20,000 non-employee visitors walked through,” says Duff. According to Restrepo, the customers are proud of their bank and the employees are happier and more productive in the workspaces and enjoy socializing in the recreation areas, too. “The building was originally envisioned on the basis of our institutional core principles—transparency, sustainability, and efficiency,” he says. “And these are the qualities that the building now reflects and symbolizes.”

who
Client: Grupo Bancolombia. Interior Design: IA Interior Architects. Local Architects (Interiors): Studio Sur. Project Architect: Beatriz Gómez. Core and Shell Architects: AIA/ Convel. Lighting Design: Lightfield Inc. Acoustical Design: Acoustic Dimensions, DAB Diseño Acustico. Project Managers: Londoño Gómez S.A. Construction Managers: Muros y Techos. Project Manager (client representative): Humberto Duque. Project Engineer: Diego Córdoba. Structural Engineer (Interiors): Building Structural Engineering Services. Mechanical Engineer: José Tobar y Cía. Electrical Engineer: HMV Ingenieros. Plumbing: Fernando Salinas Salazar. Fire Protection: Jaime Herrera y Cía. Quality Control: Ingenierìa Estructural S.A. Budgets and Schedules: FCR y Cía. Graphics: Marqas. Signage: Interbrand. Art Consultants: Alberto Sierra, Catalina Casas. Photographer: Eric Laignel.

what

Demountable Walls: Teknion. Workstations: Multiproyectos. Private offices/ Conference rooms: Muebles Wonderful. Conference center/ Boardroom tables: Geiger. Seating: Steelcase, Vitra, Kassani, Stua. Lounge seating: Quinze & Milan, Zientte, Stua, Herman Miller. Carpet: Interface, Bentley. Ceilings: Armstrong. Raised Floors: Tate. Stone: Granitos y Marmoles. Millwork: Muebles Idea, Muebles Max, Ergos, Polanco. Interior colored glass: Golden Glass. Graphics: 3M, Sigraf. Solar Control: Hunter Douglas. Movable Walls: Huffcor.

where

Location: Medellín, Colombia. Total floor area: 800,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 8. Average floor size: 100,000.



Luxe + Lean: IA designs an eco-friendly headquarters for Bancolombia

01 May, 2010


Eric Laignel

If Bancolombia is to fulfill its mission of becoming a universal bank in Colombia—as well as a leading financial institution in other countries in Latin America—then its new headquarters in Medellín, Colombia, surely will go a long way toward enabling it to do so. Not only is the sleek, 1.3-million-sq.-ft. facility efficient, flexible, highly functional, and environmentally friendly, but it also incorporates a rich mix of amenities, takes advantage of extraordinary views, and houses a top-notch art collection. While the banking institution’s ability to maximize bang for its buck doubtlessly accounts for much of the quality of its design, its abundance of attributes also is certainly due in no small part to the philosophy of its designers at IA/Interior Architects, who were able to apply their design-from-the-inside-out approach to the new from-the-ground-up building.

The decision to construct a new headquarters was made while Bancolombia was undergoing a merger with other financial institutions. The objective was to consolidate many of the bank’s various administrative areas and affiliates into a single building. According to Augusto Restrepo, administrative vice president of Bancolombia, the bank also aimed “to achieve better efficiency ratios for the group by reducing expenses of 15 buildings spread out around the city and to increase the productivity and happiness of our people,” by creating a well-designed workplace.

Constructed at a total cost of $190 million and located on a narrow site on the northwest edge of Medellín’s El Poblado neighborhood, the new 12-story facility actually comprises two separate buildings adjoined by two enclosed double-height skyway bridges linking four of the upper levels of the buildings. “One of the key drivers of this design was flexibility,” says Julio Braga, the principal in charge of design in IA’s New York office. “Since the client’s largest real estate expense was the cost of reconfiguring spaces—a lot of dollars were spent on churn—they wanted to know how they could adapt their workspaces at lower cost and with lower impact. We developed several schemes, the client chose one that incorporated column-free floor plates, and we were able to work with the building architects to develop a structure that was based on their internal needs.” Each of the two towers designed by the core and shell architects, a joint venture partnership between the Colombia-based firms AIA and Convel, features long, narrow floor plates—40,000 sq. ft. per plate in the north tower and 68,000 sq. ft. in the south—that fit snugly into the linear site. The lower four stories of each building are dedicated to parking, and the upper levels house office and conference spaces, and a fitness center, cafeteria, lounge, and roof deck on top.

In the office areas, 98 percent of each floor is dedicated to workstations, which are organized along spines that extend through the floors. The primary circulation paths wrap around the perimeters, and the few enclosed offices are located near the core and at the ends of the spines. “When we went through programming interviews, we began to understand how they work and discovered they were very open-office-intensive in their original spaces,” says Mary Lee Duff, IA principal who led the workplace strategies/programming. “They had 12 different types of workstations, most of them 5 ft. by 6 ft., and four different private offices. We streamlined the standard to a 6-ft. by 6-ft.-module, which became the key metric for the design and was one of the rare instances in which we actually increased the size of the dominant footprint.” Based on this module, the architects condensed the number of workstations and offices for 5,000 of the bank’s 17,000 employees to four sizes, 6-ft. by 6-ft. and 6-ft. by 12-ft. workstations, 12-ft. by 12-ft. private offices, and 12-ft. by 24-ft. executive offices. “Since the tax on importing furniture is high—40 to 50 percent—it was easier and less expensive to design custom systems with flexibility built in,” says Braga.

Color and art by Latin American artists add energy and lend distinction to different areas of the office floors. “There are three cores in the building, and color became the strategy for wayfinding,” says Duff. “We defined each section with a different color—red, blue, or yellow—which are the bank’s colors, and the country’s colors, too.” Thoughtful amenities, such as restaurants and dining areas, a modern fitness center, and large sun decks with a panoramic view of the city, enhance the spirit of the workplace. And sustainable design features, such as sensor-activated automatic blinds that regulate natural light and the internal temperature of the building, enhance its efficiency. Bancolombia and the architects, along with Brightworks, the green consultant on the project, are pursuing a LEED-EB rating for the building, which, if achieved, would make it the first LEED-EB-certified building in South America.

“Since the building opened, the bank has conducted tours on weekends, and during the first four months after it opened 20,000 non-employee visitors walked through,” says Duff. According to Restrepo, the customers are proud of their bank and the employees are happier and more productive in the workspaces and enjoy socializing in the recreation areas, too. “The building was originally envisioned on the basis of our institutional core principles—transparency, sustainability, and efficiency,” he says. “And these are the qualities that the building now reflects and symbolizes.”

who
Client: Grupo Bancolombia. Interior Design: IA Interior Architects. Local Architects (Interiors): Studio Sur. Project Architect: Beatriz Gómez. Core and Shell Architects: AIA/ Convel. Lighting Design: Lightfield Inc. Acoustical Design: Acoustic Dimensions, DAB Diseño Acustico. Project Managers: Londoño Gómez S.A. Construction Managers: Muros y Techos. Project Manager (client representative): Humberto Duque. Project Engineer: Diego Córdoba. Structural Engineer (Interiors): Building Structural Engineering Services. Mechanical Engineer: José Tobar y Cía. Electrical Engineer: HMV Ingenieros. Plumbing: Fernando Salinas Salazar. Fire Protection: Jaime Herrera y Cía. Quality Control: Ingenierìa Estructural S.A. Budgets and Schedules: FCR y Cía. Graphics: Marqas. Signage: Interbrand. Art Consultants: Alberto Sierra, Catalina Casas. Photographer: Eric Laignel.

what

Demountable Walls: Teknion. Workstations: Multiproyectos. Private offices/ Conference rooms: Muebles Wonderful. Conference center/ Boardroom tables: Geiger. Seating: Steelcase, Vitra, Kassani, Stua. Lounge seating: Quinze & Milan, Zientte, Stua, Herman Miller. Carpet: Interface, Bentley. Ceilings: Armstrong. Raised Floors: Tate. Stone: Granitos y Marmoles. Millwork: Muebles Idea, Muebles Max, Ergos, Polanco. Interior colored glass: Golden Glass. Graphics: 3M, Sigraf. Solar Control: Hunter Douglas. Movable Walls: Huffcor.

where

Location: Medellín, Colombia. Total floor area: 800,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 8. Average floor size: 100,000.
 


Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
*Username: 
*Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 




follow us

advertisement


advertisement






advertisement


advertisement




Contract Magazine is devoted to highlighting creative interior design trends and ideas that are shaping the industry on a daily basis. Contract is proud to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of commercial interior design products and resources that procure uniqueness when designing a space. Contract is the modern interior design magazine that recognizes fresh interior design ideas and projects powerful interior design resources.

 

Contract Magazine Home | Interior Design News | Interior Planning Products | Interior Design Research | Interior Design Competitions | Interior Design Resources | Interactive Interior Designing | Digital/Print Versions | Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us | Advertising Opportunities | Subscriber FAQs | RSS | Sitemap

© Emerald Expositions 2014. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy