The biophilic office of the future: an organic architecture developed horizontally in which work and nature interact harmoniously. This is the basis of the visionary project commissioned by the independent platform Europa Risorse – already before the pandemic, this joint venture had identified the need to create a workspace centred around employee health and wellbeing, that is respectful and well-integrated with its local environment.
The impressive construction site of Welcome, feeling at work opened in the Parco Lambro district in Milan will be completed in 2024.
The ambitious project, financed by a fund managed by PineBridge Benson Elliot, proposes a futuristic and sustainable architecture combined with a new conception of work. Personal well-being, green building solution and respect for the environment are at the center. The hub will allow access to the most sophisticated technological and digital equipment, but also to effective protection measures against future pandemics.
“Making people’s workdays more pleasant is one of the worthiest goals achieved by this project” tells Antonio Napoleone, chairman of Europa Risorse “Natural light, noise mitigation, encouragement of movement, healthy eating, large inside and outside areas for work meetings, easy circulation, and lots of other people-focused details, which also fit in with the new post-Covid culture. Working in such conditions draws the best from us: we fall ill less and are strongly convinced to create a more habitable planet for our children and future generation”.
Undeniable world leaders in organic architecture who have always offered buildings that merge with their surroundings thanks to natural and innovative materials, the Kengo Kuma and Associates studio was called to design the hub.
“Milan is a city with exciting and unique combination of contemporary and tradition in art, architecture and crafts that makes the ideal ground for our work to be implemented” tells Kengo Kuma. “Our organic design approach and designing of wood can be achievable in high quality with Italian craft”.
“Biophilic architecture: living with, and in nature” explain Yuki Ikeguchi, partner in charge of designing the project for Kengo Kuma and Associates. “Welcome, feeling at work is a project fully integrated living plants and greenery, composed with organic material”.
“Biophilic urban living; give life back to the city” continues the designer. “It is to be the New Gate, green architectural intervention reestablishing urban axis, enrich urban space quality, enhancing public activity of the area.Foster a creative and forward thinking work life. Natural elements in architecture; green, light, air, timber that appeal to human senses make a difference in workplace, living culture for better mental, physical states, creativity, and productivity. Sustainably is the future focus and social responsibility for any industries and enterprises. Welcome offers a model work environment that can promote the forward thinking firms in sustainability”.
Conceived as a catalyst for people, nature and (sustainable) values, Welcome will be built in the former Rizzoli industrial area, now abandoned, with the aim of redeveloping the entire area.
The project will provide a truly mixed use offering including: offices, auditoriums, co-working premises, meeting rooms, as well as restaurants and lounges, shops, a supermarket, wellness area, and places for temporary exhibitions and displays are provided. Inside and out, public and private, work and free time, all merge together in Welcome, linked by a common green theme that runs through the entire project: the piazza, packed with vegetation and surrounded by soft rolling hills; open-air courtyards, dedicated to informal work and meetings; the terraces, designed as extensions of the outside spaces, which will host kitchen gardens, flower gardens, and sheltered walkways; and the greenhouses, special workplaces that can also be used for fun and entertainment, places to keep both the hands and head busy. It’s not a barrier or a monument: just an accessible place, permeable from all directions.
Zero carbon emissions, renewable energy resources, consumption control, salvaging of water, green areas and endemic species as an essential part of the architectural project that connects the various adjacent urban elements and landscape, which counteracts the existing vertical context with a new concept of accessibility and permeability, in an attempt to redevelop an area currently classed as marginal.
Over 50,000 square metres above ground, structured in six sites packed with natural and adaptable light, all layered, rotated and interwoven with each other, sloping down like natural amphitheatres towards the park. The Welcome structure involves three selected materials, combined synergically: concrete for the foundations and basement, steel and wood above ground.
The system of energy generation for heating and cooling, along with the vital use of solar panels, will allow the building to reach maximum sustainability levels.
Health and wellness of individuals with Platinum Well certification targets, Platinum Leed energy efficiency, compliance to anti-Covid19 guidelines (Ashrae, Rheva, Aicarr and ISS Report), circularity in building materials and their use, complete abolition of fossil fuels, resilience to climate change for a climate-neutral future. Based on these pillars, Welcome presents itself as one of the most advanced eco-friendly projects in Europe.