BEŁCHATÓW – Following a closed competition, a team comprising architects Adam Białobrzeski, Adam Figurski and Maria Messina – from Polish practice FAAB Architektura – was commissioned the design of a 8000-sq-m office building in Bełchatów, Poland.
Intended to reduce the harmful environmental impact of excessive individual car commuting, the new headquarters for PGE GiEK – a state-owned power company and the largest power producing company in Poland – was built next to a neighbourhood where many of its employees have taken up residence. The building’s frontage frames new public spaces, which support social interactions and thus contribute to the overall liveliness of the area.
As the architects strategically planned office spaces for as many as 230 employees, the design remained informed with concerns in regard to particular aspects of comfort. It ensures for an open and well-lit working environment while providing relaxing outdoor rest areas. Cutting down on artificial light and thus electricity usage, the building allows for a large amount of natural light to enter virtually every room while maximising potential energy savings through the use of twilight sensor fixtures.
The company’s activities prevailed as a driving force throughout the Polish creative team’s design process. Some of the materials employed – such as black slate and dark cement composite panels coupled with glass elements – stand as direct references to lignite – extracted in a nearby open-cast mine – and to various stages of electric power supply.
The architects have drawn inspiration from industrial extraction and production mechanisms as well as from the actual motion of atoms and molecules – inherent to the creation of electrical energy – in order to establish explicit design guidelines. These are explicitly reflected in the structurally irregular steel framing.
PGE GiEK headquarters serves as a progressive response to a constantly increasing demand for high-quality and environmentally-responsible office buildings in Poland. It manages, through a well-thought-out layout and innovative features, to raise the standard of this typology and to make a significant aesthetically complementary contribution to the industrial cityscape.