92% of interior spaces naturally lit in energy giant PGE GiEK's Belchatów Headquarters
FAAB Architektura has realised the new headquarters of Poland’s largest energy producer, PGE GiEK in Belchatów. As PGE GiEK operates one of the largest opencast lignite quarries in Europe and their Belchatów electric power plant produces 31 trillion watt-hours of energy per annum, FAAB Architektura has taken direct inspiration from the focus of this impressive company and stitched it into the fabric of their new headquarters.
A number of the 230 employees of this major energy firm live in the same housing district in Belchatów so the site for the new headquarters was carefully selected to be in close proximity to this region, reducing employee dependency on transportation such as cars and buses. This was the first of many sustainable choices made by PGE GiEK and FAAB Architektura.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the design is the considerable amount of natural light that infiltrates the building. 92% of the interior space is illuminated by sunlight including the toilets, printing and copy rooms, and breakout spaces. The staircases, corridors, conference rooms and desk spaces are also bathed in natural light and twilight sensor fixtures can be found throughout, adjusting the luminosity of artificial lights in response to the amount of natural light available.
As mentioned above, FAAB Architektura was inspired by PGE GiEK’s position as a major energy supplier and incorporated references to mining and electrical currents throughout the complex. The ground level spaces have been finished with rusty black slate to indicate the mining of lignite, while the production and transmission of electrical energy is reflected in the upper levels by the use of black cement composite panels (representing electric transmission cables) with glass sections in-between (representing electrical energy).
The design team furthers: “The building is endowed with an atypical structural framework - upper floors are supported by a multilevel, irregular steel truss weighing 160,000 kilograms. Its implementation is a result of formal inspiration taken from mechanisms encountered in the extractive and production industries. While its dynamism recalls the movement of particles creating electric energy.”