Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out'

Nokia,
Beijing

Nokia’s mission was to build a single purpose-designed roof that would reconcile the diverse, and at time conflicting, requirements of all its departments, operational units and headquarters staff. Previously dispersed among different locations in central Beijing, they would all share a coherent, distinctive building.

M Moser’s solution was to explore a holistic ‘inside-out’ architecture that would re-inject Nokia’s culture of collaborative working, connection and sustainability back into the workplace.

Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section
Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section

Site advantages & challenges

  1. Whilst Nokia realised the desirability and benefits of gathering all headquarters staff under a single purpose-designed roof, the headquarters’ proposed location raised a number of challenges, as to get closer to its supply chain meant moving away from the core areas of Beijing; and
  2. Chiefly, the new out-of-town location would make staff commute between home and office significantly more inconvenient.
  3. Employees’ access to the everyday amenities found in central Beijing, from supermarkets and restaurants to banks and laundry services, would also be curtailed. Operational security considerations further dictated that the firm’s R&D and business departments be accommodated in physically separate spaces.

As rebalancing the ‘work-life’ equation emerged as an important priority, the building design evolved, in a radically holistic fashion, into an immersive ‘brand experience’.

As lead consultant, project manager and interiors consultant, M Moser Associates worked closely with Nokia to survey and analyse end-user needs and integrate them into a building which would also fully meet the client’s sustainability and operational goals.

The team’s approach was to develop the design from the inside-out, letting the client’s needs and requirements shape the interior volume, and letting these, in turn, determine the building’s exterior form.

Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section
Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section

Inside-out architecture

The finished structure provides 829,350 square feet of area distributed amongst six floors. Inside, its immediately distinctive feature is a ground-level ‘main street’ with a covered full-height void that divides the building into two distinct halves.

As well as functionally separating Nokia’s R&D and business teams, thus meeting its operational security requirements, the main street acts as a thoroughfare and social space to which staff naturally gravitate. Like its namesake, the ‘main street’ offers a range of amenities and services, including restaurants, convenience shops, a health club, concierge, laundry services, and a ‘wellness room’.

Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section

Nokia’s coach network system links the headquarters to key city locations and residential neighbourhoods, providing staff with a comfortable and convenient commute between home and office. In many ways, the new headquarters became a more convenient place to work than a location in central Beijing. Essentially, rather than bringing the headquarters to the heart of the city, the headquarters brings the city to its heart.

Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section

Inherently sustainable

The ‘inside-out’ holistic design approach also helped fulfil the brief’s sustainability goals. The building’s external double-skin glazing effectively insulates the interior, reducing the load on the climate control systems.

Aided by the unobstructed open-plan layout of the offices, the extensive glazing also allows natural light to flood the interiors, reducing dependency on artificial illumination while contributing to a more comfortable working environment.

Designing a new campus headquarters from the 'inside-out' section

The addition of low-flow sanitary fixtures also makes the building extremely water-efficient. The Nokia headquarters became the first building in China to be awarded a LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council.

  • Area 829,350 sq-ft
  • Completion date 2007
  • Location Beijing, China

Contact

If you are interested in working with us, have a look at our careers page.