5/03/2011

News: MVRDV to Transform Disused Dijon Mustard Laboratory Into Call Center and Incubator

MVRDV announces today to be selected to transform disused Dijon mustard laboratory into call center and incubator on a 6,000-square-meter (64,583.462-square feet) site. TeleTech Call Center and Incubator will be located in Dijon, France.
How to analyse MVRDV's design proposal? Work rhythm — building's transformation/reuse — budget. Or, to summerize, an adaptive office building.
TeleTech Call Center, Dijon, France © MVRDV

Overall, the design can be summerized into two points: first, this is a new way of renovation of building, here office building, that the agency proposes. These both key elements of transformation and reuse shift office buildings from passive office building — or unusual/traditional office buildings — to adaptive building — or flexible office building that integrates unfixable character of the present work style. Adaptive in the way that the building adapts to its users' work style and work rhythm. This office is announced to be a flexible volume; it will propose fluid workspace in response to the working hours of TeleTech's operators. That is to say: an "active" building that proposes not only workspace but also leisure — education center, gallery — for its workers.
The second element is transformation and use as tools capable of redefining office building's planning/design/fabrication-or-transformation within specific budget. Precisely, as MVRDV says "the more reuse of the existing building is possible the more budget is liberated for interventions". The goal is of course to propose more with less. But less does not make the building inefficient. On the contrary, the building will propose an environment optimally suited for operators' work rhythm, an office that enhance a new work style.
The key issue is how to reuse a building which is structurally in good shape but not suitable for a traditional transformation and use? What follows below explains the guideline of MVRDV's design.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV


TeleTech Call Center
Firstly, a presentation of TeleTech Call Center is required to present MVRDV's design. TeleTech is a French service provider with call center all over the world. In Dijon, TeleTech International will experiment with this combination of call center, education center, leisure space and incubator to create and maintain jobs in France which are generally outsourced to developing countries. Despite the worldwide trend in this sector to reduce costs and constantly increase Taylorism, the company invests massively in its social policy along with this construction project. The ambition is directed towards reinventing and revolutionising existing procedures to improve customer brand relationships through a better qualified call center agent. TeleTech International believes that a qualitative work space is a part of the solution in creating a higher level interaction with the consumers. The company will attract, teach and keep high level profile employees on site which can offer specialised and sophisticated services. The new building and the social program are an essential part of this innovative strategy.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV


The Building: Transformation and Reuse, towards a new concept of office building
MVRDV's proposition consists in transforming through reuse as one of the contemporary issues in European architecture since the current crisis. For MVRDV, European buildings are empty and require new future. The concept of transformation can redefine the use of the building, to adapt it to workers' work rhythm — if not redefining the office building itself. Transformation, yes, but if only if it is understood through the concept of reuse. Transformations are usually all about the preservation of historically or architecturally significant parts of a building, MVRDV says. In the case of the Unilever Dijon Mustard Laboratory, the transformation of the building led to a new building completed in 2004. The preservation act was conceived through the concept of reuse. However the building remained disused and closed in 2009.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV

MVRDV argues that this building needs a fine balance between intervention and intelligent reuse of the existing. MVRDV starts with the programs and hours of the users. The TeleTech Call Center will occupy the building. It has rush hours in the morning, afternoon and early evening, the agency says, which supposes short periods of unusual work places. MVRDV's transformation strategy consists in adapting to this irregular use of the building. Interior spaces will be shifted into a work landscape and the 600 young call center operators will have flexible spaces. These operators can log in anywhere they want inside this work landscape.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV

In keeping with the users' specific needs and use, MVRDV proposes to integrate silent, open or secluded places. Even the way of the workers work inspired the agency's design. The interior design has been conceived through the way these workers use their laptop. Specifically, the space must be informal and furnished with homely object to provide a fun and creative working environment.
The building will be made out of a big window, roof windows and a large atrium which will be used to generate community feeling and facilitate diffusion of daylight inside the 40x70 metres volume. The façade will be transformed with a simple print of a flashcode translated into the activities of the company.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV

The goal is to make this component act as communicator and signal the transformation.
The ground floor will contain parking and cannot be inhabited as the building is located on a flood plain. Outside the rush hours the call centre operators will have free time in which they can make use of the education centre, a gallery and projects incubator, also located inside the building.
As the for the starting question: How to reuse a building which is structurally in good shape but suitable for a traditional transformation and use? For MVRDV, the more reuse of the existing is possible the more budget is liberated for interventions. The unusual building evokes an unusual use and in the end will adjust perfectly to the TeleTech operators' work rhythm. The budget makes literal reuse necessary and leads to less replacements and a better sustainable profile of the transformation act.
TeleTech Call Center © MVRDV

This transformation is due to completion by 2012.

Source: MVRDV
Images originally appeared on archdaily

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