The reinvention of business and science parks – the new Fields of Enterprise
The opportunities at typical Business or Science Parks are to transform the sometimes stagnant experience of traditional sub-urban or rural workplace parks into a new narrative of invigorating and agile fields of enterprise.
Setting out a master plan across neighbouring plots of land can be dictated by vehicles and their car parks, but our vision for these fields is to mark out a flexible balance of independent territories and communal terrains, often blending them for a relaxed but rejuvenating variety of settings in which to enhance and propel forward an organisation’s or individual’s ambitions and activities.
As a team we engage the fundamental design drivers of people’s wellbeing and climate harmony in places of learning and work. A healthy place for both the inhabitants and its landscape is essential and highly desirable for the acts of learning, research, innovation, socialising, producing, thinking, trading, exporting, playing, resting and visiting.
Essential to creating a fresh new entrepreneurial experience of learning and working in the landscape is to blend an agile variety of work settings from inside to outside, enabling people to interact between organisations for sharing knowledge and igniting new enterprises.
The design approach for a series of connected fields of enterprise requires a strategic blend of these visionary principles around people and climate with pragmatic infrastructure layers. We consider the landscape as an indigenous base of natural amenity overlaid with a grid of movements defining routes and building territories. Buildings are rooted in these territories, plots, but spread their activities beyond the enclosure, vehicles are welcomed but calmed and embedded to ensure a balance with pedestrian and electric movement.
The vision and its strategies look far into the future to allow for significant changes of use, phasing options, and flexible ownership and leasing models.
Often being defined by cars, traditional work parks result in island buildings set in landscapes that provide great views but little interaction, establishing monotonous working cultures of driving to a building, working and looking out, then driving home.
A complete change in the culture will be sought for an interactive and landscape driven learning and working environment that can enable and enhance an entrepreneurial education or business organisation’s ethos, as well as the minds of its leaders and employees.
An urban evolution has been taking place enabling people and businesses to operate, meet and socialise anywhere within and around clusters of buildings, so we believe the traditional work park has the opportunity to react and reinvent itself, embracing and enhancing these liberations and indeed creating new market leading scenarios with the benefit of highly agile buildings and engaging landscapes.
Learning and working settings need to accommodate crowd and solo activities and a healthy range in between. Social working is a highly productive and cross fertilising norm of urban life and can be integrated with more specialist private and quiet places in a new land based campus, again both inside and outside.
The landscape can provide exercise amenities across the terrain, mingling and intertwining with mobility routes and places of rest.
A rich variety of tenants is sought for these new fields of enterprise, including media, medi-health and life sciences, heritage, technology and innovation, agriculture and food technology, meteorology, housing and guest accommodation. They make up the ingredients for a highly innovative blend of knowledge, innovation and product that will inform and drive this proposed new cultural model.
We propose a range of building types and scales that would be both speculative and where required bespoke.
Industrial scale volumes, or Mid Techs, are highly flexible in their use and adaptability, able to accommodate film studios, technology, R+D, education, sciences and workplace.
Studio scale structures over multi levels would be equally agile offering smaller tenancies for workplace, research, laboratories, recreation, retail, lodgings and blends of a number of these.
We would design with the topography minimising cut and fill, maximising the natural benefits of the indigenous terrain and its passive environmental benefits. Terraces, slopes, steps, plateaus, water flows, ponds all worked into the natural and new land forms and infrastructure.
We would blend the natural with the manmade, integrating places to work, socialising, relaxing and exercise, to encourage choices for social intensity and quiet reflection, supporting and inspiring the wellbeing and performance of organisations and their people.
Cars and service vehicles are inevitable and essential, but the urban move towards E-vehicles is accelerating and offers this new land-based model the chance to design for a balance, even a bias towards pedestrians, cycles, scooters and an array of new devices.
Commuter vehicles can be parked in clusters embedded in landscape forms, service vehicles controlled by route separations and preference given to companies with electric fleets.
Healthy Intensification + Expansion
The strategic layout of the terrain would allow for phasing the field developments and intensifying both the mix of uses and the number of building levels where appropriate.
Large organisations like film studios and universities need to be able to adapt and grow to suit their market; SMEs need to be able to expand and contract within the buildings and their territories. A flexible master plan and its infrastructure needs to be the agile hardware that can accommodate regular upgrades to its inhabitants and their operations, the software of this new environment.
This energetic collection of people and their activities is driving a new cultural identity for the place they will share, and can be a model for national and international acclaim, attracting a sustainable stream of tenants and followers.
Perhaps a new title is required reflecting the landscape and its range of technology smart inhabitants, such as Techscape, Landworks or Fields of Enterprise.