Commissioned by the Invest NI, as a PPP project, the building occupies a dominant position in the park, occupying the site which terminates the axis of the main road. It consequently has a responsibility to set overall standards for the site which hopefully be repeated by further investors.
Flexibility, in terms of the tenancy and ultimate use are fundamental to the programme. The fusion of central access to the accommodation block and the combination of two storey and extendable single storey accommodation are means of resolving this.
On approaching the building the visitor first sees the high wall of the single storey unit which directs the eye along the entrance route. This wall is taller than the two storey entrance. It has windows on both floors to allow for a mezzanine thus the appearance of a two storey facility is maintained. This appearance is important in avoidance of the aesthetic of the single storey factory block.
The visitor is then directed to the entrance block aluminium cladding and glass walling which portrays what is ultimately to be a high technology use, and is enriched by the contrast with the white render adjacent.
The humanising of technology was an important theme and to this end the elevation projects a scale which is not over powering, the elevation being broken into elements relating to the human scale.
The layout of the complex forms a series of courtyards giving controlled and landscaped views in an otherwise barren landscape. The objective of this is to allow business activity to take place in a pleasant environment with visual links to the outside while avoiding views of distractive activity.
To further enhance the quality of the working environment the window arrangements ensure light can be controlled and is primarily from the north reducing the potential for glare on computer screens. Ventilation of the space can be manually controlled at windows and the building arrangement with openings on the north and south faces will ensure good cross ventilation.
Materials chosen for the proposal are generally based on long life and inert properties together with low maintenance.