Ever wondered where the staff of the world’s larger poker site works? PokerStars recently acquired an additional floor to their existing London office building and commissioned the creative team at Area Sq to reinvent the space. Amanda Godwin Jones, design director at Area Sq comments: “The client wanted us to make maximum use of what was already on the floor, whilst creating a more contemporary and sophisticated space that sat better with the PokerStars brand”. Sustainable projects were also undertaken: “using an existing desk, we added cladding with black back painted glass to create something stunning for a recycled unit. Through the process, Area Sq were able to pass on savings to the client”. The inclusion of sound proof studios and editing suites meant even more long term savings for PokerStars, thus eliminating the need for renting the equipment and space somewhere else. The offices in London showcase a highly modern design and exude a professional feel, somewhat contrary to the overall idea of poker games.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.