Rather than simply adding floor area to accommodate growth, the design strategy looped program components around considered open space.
Sense of enclosure: The new courtyard was conceptualized to serve as an everyday contemplative area for employees as well as a special event space. It is defined by a loop of interconnected structures, including a louvered connector building that attaches to the warehouse volume behind. The landscaped patio feels sheltered, yet expansive.
Using nature to define spaces: The 1.94 acre site, once devoted mainly to parking, has been progressively colonized with new structures and useable outdoor courts and patios.
Transparency and visual connectivity among the buildings is balanced with a need for security and impermeability.
Maximizing function without sacrificing form: A new technical/ engineering wing was built over parking that could not be forfeited. The building’s structural system braces the asymmetrically over the parking spaces.
In addition to significant new construction, the architect reused most of the existing structure. The facility needed to seem solid, yet forward-thinking.
Drama on the street facing façade was created using recessed lighting. Monumental columns on the face were echoed by a forest of industrial grade cardboard tubes (seen at right) that divides the lobby from the employee cafeteria
Circulation paths through the building use tempered glass to reveal all aspects of network operations, handling ARCOS servers on one side, and colocation equipment on the other.
Neve center: The NOC, or Network Operations Center, is a highly specialized space and the most crucial node in the loop. The company’s entire international cable network is monitored from this room 24/7. Rows of workstations are wrapped by a ribbon of wood that extends out over and through to the offices beyond.
Work stations for technical staff are aligned in a narrow, yet generously proportioned bar building. Private offices are slotted into one side of the structure; the other side comprises a wall of windows allowing natural light to flood the working areas.
Columbus Networks US Headquarters
North Miami Beach, Florida | 2012
New headquarters for a rapidly expanding global telecommunications company were an opportunity to look at issues of connectivity, the transmission of identity, and the balance of security and transparency in a critical facility.
The company’s main business, the placement and maintenance of undersea fiber-optic cables internationally, served as a thematic generator for the design of the campus. The architect repurposed a suburban office building (a facility built in 1972 for Florida Power & Light) with new additions designed to urbanize the site and create a series of outdoor patio spaces.
Evoking the company’s undersea cable system, circulation on the site is organized as a continuous loop that threads the building elements together. This loop begins at the ground floor entry, circles through the offices offering glimpses of server rooms and engineers’ workstations, and culminates in the Network Operation Center (NOC), the command center. Operating 24-7, the elevated NOC is the heart of the facility and its most dramatic space.
The design also took into consideration the need for significant security throughout much of the site, balanced with more welcoming spaces for visiting clients and executives. The architect utilized metal, tile and hard laminates juxtaposed with the abundant use of glass and wood.
2015 AIA Florida Award of Excellence
2013 AIA Miami Award of Excellence
Photos by Robin Hill
© 2018 Shulman + Associates