The new offices of the Czech Forestry Commission Administration Centre will seamlessly merge its office spaces with the surrounding forest, utilising open spaces to bring the greenery inside and capture natural light.
Design team Chybik + Kristof has won an international competition to design a new administrative centre for the Czech Forestry Commission in Hradec Králové. The project focuses on a symbiotic relationship between the building and the adjacent forest, where the natural landscape outside mingles with the office spaces within.
Ondřej Chybík, a founding partner of Chybik+Kristof, explains that the inspiration for their design came from their initial site visit, where they explored the adjacent Hradec forest after touring the current headquarters of the Forestry Commission. They noticed a stark difference between the hot indoor offices and the cool environment of the forest, which led to their design philosophy of creating a space where the workplace relates to and is reminiscent of the forest in which it sits.
‘What we sought to do was create a transparent, yet intimate and highly presentable working space. Having this concept in mind, we opted for a radial office layout relying on a central courtyard from which the building penetrates the wooded areas and the wooded areas penetrate the building,’ said Chybík.
The two-story central courtyard holds a visitor’s centre, meeting room, library and cafeteria, forming the social centre of the overall design. It is lit by skylights and the supporting columns are used to remind visitors of tree trunks within a forest.
Extending radially from the courtyard are five ‘fingers’, each representing an independent administrative unit. These office areas are designed with the architects’ intent of ‘workplace as forest’ in mind. It uses a modular system to create an open space with sub-centres that hold central staircases, storage areas and kitchenettes. By segmenting the ground floor plan into the five sections, it ensures that all areas receive sufficient amounts of sunlight during the day.
An integral part of the design is the nature trail that surrounds the building. Beginning on the roof of the building with a presentation on sustainable forestry, the trail continues with a slide that takes visitors down to the courtyard. It then takes the visitor on a winding path outside, around the other five sections of the design. The five sections will provide different local forest experiences such as spruce, beech and fir, pine and birch, and oak and hornbeam forests. Over the years, these surrounding forest experiences will grow and change, with the trees acting to cool the building.