Foster + Partners’ first office building in Russia, RCC Headquarters, reimagines the traditional workplace to set new benchmarks in quality, comfort, and adaptability. The revolutionary modular office units on the 15-story building are encased in an energy-efficient enclosure, providing a distinctive character for the organization in Ekaterinburg. RCC is one of the world’s largest copper manufacturers, and the crystal lattice of copper inspires the triangulated parts of the building. The building’s crown incorporates RCC’s new emblem, a rebranding that was inspired by the building’s new design.
Facing the River Iset in Ekaterinburg, the newly opened building is envisioned as a ‘house for staff’ with stacked modules, ample daylight, and bifurcated staircases. Enveloped by a facade reminiscent of a jagged, crystalline sheath bathed in a golden aura, the project is a revitalized former brownfield site in proximity to the path of the Iset River within the inner city.
In designing the tower, the architecture firm avoided the traditional broad, communal office arrangement, instead attempting to redefine the headquarters as a ‘house for staff.’ The workplace consultancy department at the architecture practice examined the client’s operations and assisted in developing a new modular system for those spaces. This was then designed in collaboration with the in-house technical teams to allow for quick construction while ensuring optimal levels of natural daylight for concentration work.
Working together with the client, the design team came up with a bespoke solution for RCC’s new headquarters that is an ideal match for the business and the very nature of their work.” Both shared rooms and work areas include marble and natural wood palettes, conveying a feeling of lightness while creating a warm, homely ambiance that corresponds to the design’s underlying philosophy.
Each two-story module comprises two offices placed one on top of the other, as shown by the double-story cladding module. The modules are organized in rows on each side of a central hallway that serves as an informal gathering space, with lounge seating and city views through the glazed lift shaft. The space on level fifteen is top-lit to serve as a flexible venue for corporate events and activities. In response to Ekaterinburg’s wide seasonal temperature range – often ranging from +30°C to -30°C – the balance of solid and glazed spaces is meant to respond to low-level winter sun while moderating the scorching heat of direct summer sunlight.
The design is aiming for a BREEAM Excellent grade. The city and the recently landscaped riverside are visible through the glass façade. The green space extends to the building’s façade and spills into a private garden for staff. The landscaping reflects its interior cellular arrangement, with a series of ‘external chambers’ that give peaceful spots for staff to unwind and eat lunch. The building also has an audiovisual conference space and boardroom, meeting rooms, and an executive dining area.
Project Name: RCC Headquarters
Location: Ekaterinburg, Russia
Client: RCC (Russian Copper Company)
Architect and Interiors: Foster + Partners
Collaborating Architect: P. M. VostokProekt
Structural, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Foster + Partners/P. M. VostokProekt
Construction Timeline: 2015-2021
Façade Engineer: Priedemann
Vertical Transportation: D2E
Lighting Consultant: Jason Bruges Studio
Acoustic Engineer: Sandy Brown
Photography: Oleg Kovalyuk FOLLOW