Nextech is a company that provides Information Technology infrastructure and data-storage solution services. Their previous office was at the heart of Bangkok’s business district and after a long period of paying costly rental price in an office building, they decided that it was time to build their own headquarters. During the time that tech industries are the leader in moving towards paperless working environment, online working and cloud storage has proven that work can be done from anywhere. This new concept has challenged the traditional office space design and utilisation.
The new headquarters is situated on a 400 square meters plot of land, tucked inside a small soi near Punnawhiti BTS station. With some distance away from central Bangkok, building codes regulate the height at the maximum of 15 meters. The floor plans are maximized but not for conventional reasons. The building is divided into two masses: office space and service core. Separating between the two is a breezeway that runs through the whole height of the building, letting in natural light and ventilation. This creates a pleasant atmosphere in open-air spaces which not only greet visitors before entering the office but also provide leisure areas for small breaks between working hours or casual discussions. It also acts as a space that architecturally divides the building, connects workers from different floors and breaks the rigidness typically found in standard office blocks. Another key element that passively creates comfort in the building is the placement of the service core, which is strategically oriented to face the south to provide a buffer from direct sunlight. This also keeps the excessive heat away from the main occupiable space of the building.
On the interior, the 2nd- 5th floor provides flexible open-plan spaces for various usages. The spaces support diverse activities to suit the need of modern working environment where the need for individual desks no longer dictates the whole floor. Multi-purpose space can accommodate workshops, events, and changes in the future. Apart from the flexibility, the key architectural element of the office space is in the double height ceiling. Sacrificing half of the floor area on the 3rd and 5th floor, the high ceiling creates a bright and airy atmosphere, taking full advantage of natural light. The dynamics between low and high ceiling heights offer pleasant change of scale as well as spaces for different functions. Where privacy and enclosed space is required, rooms are placed between spaces with lower ceiling height, while multi-purpose and lounge areas can take the full benefit of the higher ceiling spaces. Air-conditioning units are carefully placed in the most effective location, avoiding any interruption to the openness of the space. Built-in furniture with ventilation grille was carefully crafted to conceal the AC units to achieve aesthetic quality and allow convenient maintenance.
Externally, metal sidings wrap the building on almost all areas of the exterior wall, especially around the service core. Not only keeping the inside temperature balance, but also provides aesthetic touch which withstands the weather and requires minimum maintenance. The surface quality and vertical ridges of the standing seams create patterns that come together with the other two exterior elements of the building. On the east side, U-Glass channels blurred off undesired view of nearby apartment block while allowing natural light into the building. On the west side, stainless steel mesh screens off direct sunlight and provides a pleasant view to the outside.