A Tour of Tesco’s Welwyn Garden City Office Campus
Architecture and interior design firm LOM Architecture and design has recently designed a new office campus for grocery retailer Tesco in Welwyn Garden City, England.
“Situated within a tree-filled landscape, the scheme creates a people-focused work environment which encourages interaction, collaboration and creativity while promoting Tesco’s core values, products and the customer. The Heart Building provides flexible spaces where staff can interact with customers and suppliers to develop and present new initiatives, and assess new products, technologies and trends. The Heart Building serves as a ‘hub’, creating a focal point for employees working in nine other Tesco office buildings on the campus.
The project incorporates the Tesco Academy, a facility which hosts learning and training opportunities for up to 100 Tesco staff at any one time. An event space, able to accommodate up to 500 people, with a 20m² presentation screen occupies the apex of the first-floor plan, while at the opposite end of the floor is a new, state-of-the-art gym.At the core of the facility is a dramatic central atrium offering a 3,229 square foot flexible, communal, internal ‘street’ area where staff and visitors can network daily, and which also serves as a space for events and presentations.
A Tesco Express store in the building serves both Tesco staff and local people. The store will be used by Tesco to test and evaluate new product lines and systems before distributing them more widely. The gentle, curving profile of the new facility and the considered landscaping surrounding it helps to soften the context of the existing office buildings on the campus, while providing areas for staff and visitors to sit in a pleasant external environment. The building’s façade incorporates a series of balcony-like walkways accessed by spiral staircases which form a key architectural feature.
The atrium roof is made of ETFE – the same material used for the domes of the Eden Project in Cornwall – which features a fritted pattern to reduce solar ingress.
The building has been designed with a minimal number of internal fixed walls, allowing the spaces to respond to changing requirements over time. Acoustic panels have been positioned strategically throughout the building to lower background noise, particularly in the main hall, which can accommodate up to 500 people.
Architecturally, LOM has created the building form with soft, welcoming lines and natural stone and timber materials as core components. The glulam timber roof structure forms an attractive, flexible, clear-span space internally. To complement the large areas of external glazing, Rodeca polycarbonate panels have been used to create a translucent façade. This allows natural light to enter through the walls during the daytime and artificial light to pass through during the evening, when the building appears to ‘glow’ from within from light animated by the movement of people inside. Internally, LOM has worked closely with Tesco to develop a creative and inspiring environment. The timber and concrete of the building are complemented with the balanced use of colour in furniture, fittings and acoustic materials, and in the application of bold graphics.
LOM’s design presents a raw industrial look with exposed concrete structure topped by a timber roof. A restrained palette of building finishes, including galvanised ductwork and plywood joinery, are further complemented by the furniture’s thin black metal detailing, natural tones and flashes of primary colour.”
- Location: Welwyn Garden City, England
- Date completed: 2018
- Design: LOM Architecture