Calgary’s upcoming Attabotics Headquarters, designed by the Modern Office of Design + Architecture, physicalizes complex circulatory systems into a structure that is simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and programmatically successful. The client, a robotics manufacturer, was initially inspired by the spatial organization of ant colonies in their design for their emblematic robotic storage and retrieval system. This attribute consequently embeds itself in the new design for their headquarters, which navigates height restrictions, views, programming, and sustainability within this already intricate system of organization.
Attabotics’ wedge-shaped massing takes advantage of a Navigation Canada height restriction to program a network of social plazas into the slanted roof of the building. These plazas both connect the interior levels of the building to the exterior and frame views to the city and surrounding mountains. This structuring forms a continuous ribbon of movement that weaves between interior and exterior, producing a unique set of possibilities at the intersections of social scape and internal circulation.
Internally, the design is defined by a central atrium from which each level emanates and a canyon-like below-grade area for manufacturing purposes. These lower levels constitute a rectilinear footprint for the otherwise polygonal superstructure, providing for future flexibility. The atrium, in turn, centralizes the design and facilitates the dissemination of vital information to the entire company. Both areas are crucial foundations for an otherwise segmented design.
Overall, these architectural choices are more largely guided by the principles of Design for Disassembly and “cradle-to-cradle” design. Addressing both issues of sustainability and client preferences for a mobile and flexible environment, the resulting building is highly responsive to inevitable future needs for growth, change, and renewal.