SPACE FOR PUBLICITY , OFFICE IN THE PARK
While freshness, creativity, preciseness and independence are essential qualities for media people and organisations, Thai Public Broadcasting Service or Thai PBS has all it takes to show to public it’s more than just that. Throughout three years of operations, Thai PBS has without a doubt become a rolemodel public broadcasting television service for Thai society. This is exhibited in Thai PBS’s new headquarters that built up with modern concept. Apart from high technology being equipped in all buildings, touch of nature is one important criterion that has never been overlooked.
That’s not enough. Every inch of the space was reinvented in order to get more public involvement. “Our old office was located on the Shinawatra Tower III , which used to be the office for itv back then. As it is a high-rise building with no way that such space can serve wider public to join in and share their views, the board of committee then gave us the green light to find a new place for our head office,” Wasan Paileeklee, Deputy Managing Director of Thai PBS, told 8Hours about the original idea of the Thai PBS relocation. “Finally we got 43,200 square metres of land next to the Royal Thai Police Sports Club and created ‘Office in the Park’ to expose to the goal of giving our service to public. Working in the role of media, we thought it’d be great to put on more of a green scene to the space so that it could help spark our ideas and creativity. The other benefit is we can also use some parts of our office to shoot some TV programs. Thanks to Plan Associates who created what we need, to make this new office a good place to work at the same time a great space for public involvement. Right now building A, B and C are almost 100% completed. The rest which are building D and landscape of a 3,200 square metres Public Park under the authorized supervision of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, will be entirely finished in October this year. We hope to launch the official grand opening of our new office around January 2012, which is Thai PBS’ 4th anniversary.”
The new office of Thai PBS is also environmental friendly as it is surrounded by big trees and is planned to give direction for the wind passage among the four buildings. Other facilities include a soccer field, badminton court and yoga rooms. The building structure is designed in modern industrial look with the comfort of high ceiling, showing off its raw material and texture such as exposed concrete, and air-conditioning and electricity pipelines. Solar/UV protection glasses are applied on the building’s walls in order to get enough light during day time as well as to save energy.
According to Wasan, the other challenge regarding Thai PBS relocation is that the process of moving all 900 staffs had to be made while all of its programs were still airing uninterruptedly. He admitted it was so difficult that the committee had to appoint special teams to coordinate and look after the construction process and the relocation procedures. At the same time, Wasan said Thai PBS planned to replace all broadcasting equipment and IT system, which have been on duty for over a decade, to go with its new office. Right now Thai PBS is ASEAN’s most modernized TV station with highly efficient digital production and broadcast in High Definition. Here at the new office of Thai PBS, we have found true value of both a terrific space for public involvement and a good place to work in just one place.
DESIGN BALANCE SCALE
Thai PBS wanted their new office to be an engaging environment for their staff, where creativity is stimulated and nourished, at the same time preserving accessibility by the general public. Designing the new office that will match these requirements is such a challenge for responsible parties.
“Meeting both requirements was a considerably challenging task for us. Charming office can be in so many different characters but we must strive for the one that balance where things come out attractive enough for the visitors without looking too over the top,” recalls Suthorn Charoenkal, Design Associate from August Design Consultant. They have managed the requirement in style with a crisp industrial look that pitches Thai PBS as an honest, contemporary yet down to earth news producer. The materials used are not exceedingly expensive. For example, the domestic sourced stone floor, and the floor in the majority parts of the buildings is waxed cement, also naked ceiling contributes to the industrial look while provides cost saving. The balance goes on to cover workspace allocation and furniture selection. On this, Suthorn explains, “Everyone in this organization is a shared owner and opinions are voiced publicly. The design team, the project management and the central unit of Thai PBS must work extensively together in order to arrive at the most compromised conclusions. For example, we have to justify why certain employees were given furniture that was moved from the old office. We had to point out to them that the pieces in question are of relatively new design and fit well with the new setting, and that they have been refurbished by the manufacturers. To this end, ROCKWORTH was very understanding of the various needs and helped suggest and implement solutions all along.”
And at the end of the day, a design job cannot be complete without good aesthetics. Suthorn says natural light was a key element incorporated into the design through the use of glass on the inside and outside of the buildings so that light can come in from the left and the right. This reflects the status of Thai PBS as a public organization where transparency is concerned and helps with the improvement of workplace ambiance. The design was applied to mid-level and toplevel executive offices and function rooms as well. More importantly, it corresponds with the ‘Office in the Park’ theme Thai PBS wanted in the first place. Inspiration is set to soar and so is creativity at this cluster of curiosity-provoking offices in the embrace of a pleasant park.
“A project of this scale could not be completed by one person or one team. We needed to have a good teamwork with us as the party handling main architecture, weaving all elements together in harmony,” Suthorn adds the facts with a hint of smile on his face. “This office looks great and in keeping with the times. The balance we have achieved for the people working here and the people visiting them will see Thai PBS becoming an even stronger media of this region. It is truly multidimensional.”