Last month, the ground breaking ceremony took place marking the start of construction for Veranda Offices, a 12,000m2, eight storeys high and a mixed-use office block offering some commercial activities in an activated plinth. Veranda Offices were developed in collaboration with local co-architects, ACS Integrated and PWA Architects for client Moot Manor (Pvt) Ltd and completion is set for February 2019.
Colombo, like many other South-Asian cities, is moving towards developing into a future as a high dense Metropole, with multiple large-scale offices and residential towers. Veranda Offices continues this current trend but it is also forward-looking, conscious of its architectural context, and will be a model for future development in the city. ‘Veranda Offices reflects Colombo’s contrasting nature as a city of old and new that is also both busy and vibrant’, says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder, MVRDV. ‘Our design approach is ecological, cultural sensitive to the location and its future users by offering them attractive, light filled offices with a lively commercial plinth.’
The building is 12,000m2, eight storeys high and a mixed-use office block offering some commercial activities in an activated plinth. Its ground level is landscaped and embedded to create a pedestrian link leading to the lively neighbouring Park Street Mews which offers finance, business, saloon and gallery spaces.
The façade design is inspired by local Sri Lankan weaving patterns. These together with open verandas and large glass panoramic windows, wrap around the building mimicking weaving techniques but also allows for office divisions where inner separated walls do not disrupt the overall façade identity.
The office floors are designed to be as flexible as possible with options to rent small units or an entire floor, with each floor having its own panoramic veranda. Located on the ground level, along with the main junction there is a space able to accommodate a cafeteria or small restaurant. In contrast, on the sixth floor, there is a rooftop with a sculpture garden and shaded pavilions for events, gatherings or more flexible uses. The drop-off and lift lobby are integrated within the building envelope and two parking levels above ground have a lush open planter façade. This allocation of uses allows the public realm to be uninterrupted for pedestrians. The fenestration has a large setback to minimalize the radiation caused by direct sunlight, whilst verandas are shaded and protected using the folding shutter to prevent from harsh sunlight and heavy rains.
Veranda Offices is the first centralised cooled building of its kind in Sri Lanka that provides naturally ventilated breakout spaces. These low tech solutions mentioned all contribute to making the building more sustainable. MVRDV worked together with co-architects ACS Integrated, NCD on structural engineering and Ramboll on SMEP. Project management is by Ascentis India, quantity surveying and cost control by Qpro Services (Pvt) Ltd. The project which is set for completion in February 2019.