the Banque nationale invests in the New Way of Working
On the basis of the New Way of Working, the National Bank of Belgium aims to create more, better quality accommodation facilities on the one hand, and to optimize the use of the number of m² on the other.
This means flexible workstations instead of individual offices and the grouping of various activities within the bank so that employees can choose the most suitable workstation for each task (Activity-Based Working).
An in-depth study of the department’s working methods resulted in the definition of several types, each with specific needs in terms of working environment. These needs, along with the calculated FTE (full-time equivalent), were used as the basis for the configuration of the available space.
|program||renovation of the DO office building according to New Way Of Working (NWOW)/Activity-Based Working principles|
|client||Banque nationale de Belgique|
|address||boulevard de Berlaimont 14 • 1000 Bruxelles|
|expertises||architectureinterior architecturehealth & safety coordination|
|team||• project owner: Banque nationale de Belgique|
• contractor: Beddeleem
• technical equipment design office: Botec
• safety co-ordination: Sixco
The project consists of four segments, with four different ambiences. Each segment is vertically accessible by means of an elevator core, which avoids horizontal circulation through the offices. Each segment is divided into “home zones”, specific to a given department, with three successive sub-zones.
Social sub-zone 1 is connected to the vertical circulation and consists of lockers, a kitchenette, and reception workstations.
Sub-area 2 is located between sub-areas 1 and 3 and consists of meeting rooms, “train compartments”, team corners, etc… adapted to the needs of each specific department.
Sub-area 3 is only connected to sub-area 2. Landscaped offices with flexible workstations are interrupted by concentration bubbles or cockpits. In this sequence of sub-areas, sub-area 2 acts as an acoustic buffer between the socially noisy sub-area 1 and the landscape office (sub-area 3).
The acoustic requirements of the separations between the sub-zones were carefully defined during the design phase and monitored by an acoustics engineer.
1st phase: the IT-shop
The DO building consists of four floors and was renovated in phases. The first phase, the ground floor, was completed in September 2019.
The first floor has a predominantly IT environment and is structured according to the previous principle, with the social sub-area 1 as an IT-‘shop’. The entrance was opened to a busy thoroughfare within the bank, which exercises an inviting influence.
Sub-area 2 has several meeting rooms and a working theatre. The movable furniture in the meeting rooms enables a variety of meeting possibilities: from classic tables with chairs to high tables with ergonomic chairs and seat balls.
The department also includes an additional social area for relaxation. The space has been decorated in a playful manner. The printed brick wallpaper also emphasises this playfulness. Low chairs, a table football game, a ping-pong table, and a punch bag complete the picture.
The landscape office (sub-area 3) has a considerably lowered ceiling. On the one hand, this creates a zoning in relation to the circulation space and, on the other hand, it ensures good acoustics. The arrangement of the cockpits, a bubble dedicated to telephone calls or short work requiring concentration, divides the open space into smaller parts and creates a more intimate atmosphere. The felt scales in the cockpits serve as a covering and improve the acoustics.
2nd phase: zen & relaxation
The second phase concerns the renovation of the 1st and 3rd floors of the 4-storey DO building. In accordance with the concept, the floors were designed in different ambiences. The 1st floor is dedicated to zen and meditation. The materialization and use of colours are inspired by Japanese interiors. In the same vein, an ideas space has also been created in the form of a yoga studio.
The third floor focuses on sport and play. Here, the more playful use of colours and various forms of relaxation, such as a pool table and playstation, set the mood.
The 2nd phase was completed in April 2020.
3rd phase: nature
The 3rd phase began after the internal move: the design of the 2nd floor of the DO building, dedicated to nature. An abundance of plants, combined with highly textured materials, creates an earthy atmosphere. The cork seat and outdoor furniture contribute to a sense of tranquillity.