The cutting-edge new Microsoft campus near Dublin – an innovative building designed by RKD architects – opened in April this year. However, with planning permission only being granted on the basis that the building should not look too big or oppressive, the architects had a major challenge on their hands, transforming four buildings into one campus that worked for all members of the business.
According to an article in Property Week, the unique X-shape design they came up with helped to disguise the sheer size of the seven-storey structure. Nevertheless, the building is still vast, requiring 25,000 pieces of furniture in 50 different styles with 595 meeting rooms to furnish – that’s 85 on every floor!
The office is open 24/7 and has to accommodate the needs of all 2,000 employees. Not a small task when they comprise 72 nationalities from 70 countries and speak 34 languages! Microsoft used data they gathered to identify the working patterns for individual roles and had the workstations designed to fit the needs of the individuals who occupy them. For example, some workstations were fitted with noise cancelling panels for employees making international calls late at night.
Joanne Morrissey, head of human resources at Microsoft Ireland said, “Although the building is fully operational, it will never be finished.” This alludes to the fact that the building was purposely designed so its features can be changed regularly based on input from employees. It can also be expanded in the future, if needs be.
Changing personnel, changing roles and changing business needs should always be a catalyst for office layouts, lighting, furnishing, heating and cooling, being reappraised, so we applaud Microsoft’s fluid way of thinking about office design.
If you are looking for ways to make your workspace more adaptable and better for your employees, contact us for advice – we have in-depth experience in creating professional office environments for a wide range of needs.