From football stadiums to office towers, from Knokke to Warsaw… top architect John Eyers has designed many Ghelamco buildings.
As head of the architectural firm Jaspers-Eyers Architects, Eyers is ideally placed to judge what characterizes a Ghelamco building. “Ghelamco strives for iconic buildings with distinctive designs characterized by flexibility and reflecting the zeitgeist. That’s what makes Ghelamco stand out from other companies.”
In his design work, John Eyers is intent on mapping the zeitgeist. “What are today’s tenants looking for? What are users looking for? What influence does this have on workplaces?” Such questions greatly influence the architecture.
“Employees used to spend most of the day at their desks, with the occasional meeting taking place in a meeting room. But things have changed. Nowadays, people first tend to get together informally to discuss matters. Formal meeting rooms are only used occasionally. This new way of working calls for different office layouts, with a focus on enabling teamwork.”
Solutions differ from sector to sector and from tenant to tenant. In a law firm, you need to be able to hold confidential meetings; in call centres, many people should be able to work in the same room together.
“We aim to strike a balance between flexible, sustainable designs and affordable and quick-to-build designs.”John Eyers Architect
John Eyers: “The interesting thing is that we first have to look for the company’s DNA. Then we have to analyze what impact the new way of working will have on that DNA.”
The changing world is noticeable elsewhere too. “In the old days, what offices looked like was important. Today, what you can offer employees in terms of comfort, wellness, and well-being is equally important. I’m talking about environmental factors such as light and fresh air. Sustainability, too, has become far more important, as seen in the use of new materials.”
As an architect, you’re always looking for a balance between form and cost-effectiveness. “You need to strike a balance between iconic, flexible, and sustainable designs meeting wellness and well-being needs, and affordable, quick-to-build designs in keeping up with a certain market. Markets differ. Brussels is different from Warsaw; a regional capital is different from a national one.”
When the end-user is known, the architect can take its wishes into account. A building is designed to be as flexible as possible. “In practice, that means large open spaces with few obstructions such as beams or pillars, ensuring maximum freedom to configure the space.”
“To stand the test of time, modern buildings have to be designed with flexibility in mind.”John Eyers Architect
According to Eyers, this also makes buildings sustainable, as they can assume different functions over time. “Today people might be working in a building, tomorrow they might be living in it. Modern buildings need that kind of flexibility. Everything is evolving so quickly. We have to cater for today’s needs, while at the same time keeping the future in mind.”