Colombo in Sri Lanka, 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. Designed by MVRDV, 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.
The building is a 12,000 sq m, eight storeys high, 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 lively neighbouring which offer 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 minimalise 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.