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This Russian software campus is designed for “total interaction” – and no COVID restrictions

Tim Gibson

26 April 2021

DUTCH Architectural practice UNStudio has revealed the design for JetBrains’ new St. Petersburg campus.

The international software development company wanted to transform its current premises into a modern immersive campus environment.

The new offices are designed to be wholly interactive meant as place to meet, discuss, mediate and propose creative ideas while taking in views of the spectacular Gulf of Finland.

All 1,000 employees at the campus will benefit from custom-built healthy work stations, specific to JetBrains’ specific approach to work culture.

Above: The atrium's zig-zag facade is designed to combat the shifting temperatures of the Russian city. Image courtesy of UNStudio.

The building is shaped around a large vertically stepped indoor atrium which connects to an outdoor courtyard and terraces.

This atrium is to be the core of the JetBrains community, with large open spaces designed to facilitate interaction and networking.

Meeting rooms, break spaces, auditoriums, and restaurants are all accessed from the atrium.

While bridges, complete with plant life, connect across the large open areas.

Above, office floors are arranged based on team and individual focus, rather than a haphazard open-plan approach where everybody is in the one space.

Above: The campus' central atrium is designed to encourage interaction. Images courtesy of UNStudio.

“We pay a great deal of attention to how people move through buildings,” explains Founder and Principal Architect of UNStudio Ben van Berkel.

“Office spaces are designed in such a way that they do not create simple linear corridors leading to dead ends, instead each corridor has a route that introduces a kind of landscape into the building.

“The possibility is created to take endless walks through the building, where there is a great deal of transparency, also towards the surrounding landscape.

“[This design] stimulates total interaction.”

Giving the green light to such a large-scale construction project that actively encourages employee interaction in its very design is indicative of how the Russian city anticipates a post-COVID recovery.

JetBrains' new campus is a sign that the lockdowns and restrictions on workplaces will hopefully soon be over, at least for St. Petersburg.

UNStudio won an international competition at the end of 2019 to design the campus. The studio further developed the design in 2020 with construction due to start later in 2021.

The practice is notable for a number of high-profile projects, including the soon-to-be tallest building in Australia.


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