GSK Asia house: A Dynamic space for moving and sharing

March 2018, Singapore – The new, purpose-built Asia headquarters for global healthcare business GSK is a beacon of health in the region, located within Singapore’s strategic One North business hub. GSK Asia House has been designed by leading international practice HASSELL with GSK’s agile and collaborative working principles at the heart of the design to keep people and ideas flowing freely across this high-performing workplace.

Vision for Asian regional headquarters

Central to the design concept and process were GSK’s Smart Working principles, which formed the basis for envisioning a healthy, stimulating environment designed to encourage movement and collaboration between employees. These principles were conceived by GSK service and technology experts, and guided HASSELL as the design leader in bringing together the overall design vision for the GSK Asia House. Taking learnings from other GSK Smart Working sites around the world, the design principles for GSK Asia House anticipate how new ways of working in Singapore will evolve over time.

Designed from the ‘inside-out’

As the design architect, landscape architect and interior designer, the integrated HASSELL team approached the project from the ‘inside out’, looking closely at what inspires and engages GSK’s people. During the highly engaging design process, HASSELL facilitated co-creation workshops with multiple stakeholder groups and change champions from GSK. The ideas taken from the employees were developed into a future-focused workplace for GSK as an agile, open and multilayered campus.

An enabler for innovation

GSK wanted a workplace that enables greater cross-functional collaboration across business lines – to break down barriers and enable quicker, more effective ways of working. HASSELL brought this to life by creating a horseshoe-shaped flexible floorplate arranged around a central atrium, that sets the bulk of the building to one side so people can reach each other more easily across the open, free-flowing space. GSK Asia House features over 15 different types of working environments, including creative collaboration spaces, external wi-fi enabled landscape settings, fostering collaboration and the sharing of ideas between employees, as well as encouraging wellbeing and movement in and around the workplace.

Key to driving innovation at GSK Asia House is the Global Learning Centre (GLC), designed to enable a deeper level of engagement for staff and leadership to share knowledge.

Building in a park

The building form is designed as a unique response to its context, inspired by Singapore’s abundant landscape and its parkland setting at Rochester Park. The overarching architectural concept was to create a ‘building in a park’, which has been achieved by extending the parkland setting through a series of landscaped cascading sky gardens. To further enhance the connection to nature, the design of the main building has been conceived as a screen of ‘petals’ that create a distinctive, climate-responsive façade.

Existing mature trees have been largely retained and complemented with an extensive new tropical planting scheme. Overall, the site contains over 62,000 individual plants and trees of approximately 90 species. The park setting is the key driver of the landscape concept, creating a sense for employees that they are arriving through and working in a natural setting.

Connection to community

The landscape design supplements the architectural concept by seamlessly embedding GSK’s highly transparent new headquarters into the established parklands and buildings around it, including three colonial heritage bungalows that have been fully re-lived and integrated into the site, housing a staff gym, fitness studio and an executive retreat facility. Designed to embrace the community from the adjacent residential areas as well as the larger working population at the visionary new biomedical hub known as One North, GSK Asia House will give ongoing value to GSK and the surrounding community.

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About Hassell

HASSELL is a leading international design practice with studios in Australia, China, South East Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. We judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging. www.hassellstudio.com

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