An Inspirational Welcome

Therése Welander, Head of Strategic Projects and Campus Stakeholder Manager

ESS will soon be home to research and science on levels never seen before, and this home needs a welcome that befits the ambition of such a facility. The Campus is a group of buildings designed to attract, encourage and inspire all visitors to ESS. Each part has been carefully considered to ensure that every person knows that when they arrive at ESS, they have arrived somewhere special.

When ESS is open for science, it will be welcoming thousands of guests each and every year. It’s important that these guests feel that they have arrived at a forward-thinking and state-of-the-art facility, and the ESS Campus is set to play a central role in creating that feeling. The Campus broke ground in December 2018, and is set to be completed by the end of 2020 thanks to all the effective work done during the pre-construction phase.

It consists of three buildings – the entrance building, the main office building and the laboratories/ workshops building which are in addition to the main instrument labs. The Campus project also includes the outside space that connects these buildings, with everything designed to come together in an attractive, inspirational way.

“When starting the workplace design for the Campus, we really wanted to capture the needs of all the different stakeholders,” says Therése Welander, Head of Strategic Projects and Campus Stakeholder Manager. “We listened to representatives from every division, and from there we knew that the building design should inspire and facilitate collaboration. It was also clear that the organisation will change over time, so we want these spaces to be flexible and suitable for a variety of purposes.”

Diversity is also a priority, as people work in so many different ways. The Campus will account for that through a range of different offices, open areas, focus rooms, and collaborative spaces. This runs all the way through to the kinds of catering available, with one communal space for those who choose to buy food on the premises or to bring their own. This allows diversity and collaboration to go hand-in-hand. There is one other over-arching philosophy that runs through every part of the Campus - attractiveness.

“The Campus, and particularly the entrance building, is the first thing people will see,” continues Therése. “Many people will be spending much of their time in our offices, labs and workshops, so we want to make this as attractive a working environment as possible. This is not only to create a positive feeling, but also to help us keep and attract competence, and to make people from all over the world want to come here. Our vision is that we want everyone to see ESS as ‘the place to be’. It’s bold, but if we want to be a state-of- the-art facility, we have to dare to be bold!”

Form meets function

While making the Campus appealing, it was equally important to ensure that every part of it would fit its purpose in the best possible way. Whether that’s an auditorium equipped with the latest audio-visual technology, or an atrium that can be used for practical purposes, everything has been carefully considered.

“Everything with regards to building placement, design and function has been done in a way that will give the best results possible,” explains Therése. “Take the atrium in the office building, for example. In most buildings, atria are spaces which aren’t used for anything, they just exist to give light into the building. With the Campus atrium, the first thing people will see is what we call ‘the iceberg’, which is best described as a bold, modern installation with large screens which will show information about ESS, and can show different things to different parts of the room. This means it can be used in a practical way by holding exhibitions or presentations, while people will be able to gather around the balconies to observe and discuss.”

In addition to meticulously planned interiors, the building placements and the external areas have also been planned down to every last detail. Since the conceptual phase, the plan has remained the same, but there have been a number of tweaks and improvements along the way.

“As well as trying to meet the demands of the various stakeholders, we also made adjustments based on the environment around ESS,” adds Therése. “For example, we studied sunlight and wind, and the rotation and placement of the buildings are made to avoid creating wind tunnels in the outdoor spaces. We want people to be able to sit and enjoy being outside our facility as well.”

Where everything comes together

Encouraging collaboration and inspiring new ideas are pillars of the Campus project. Each area flows into the next, with the idea being that it’s simple for people to move and communicate, and to find spaces where they will be able to think and create. In addition, with ESS being a beacon for the future of science, the surroundings need to inspire each and every visitor.

“Through the eight metre high glass windows in the canteen, people will get a clear view of the target building, which I think will offer a great perspective of the scale of our facility, and of the scientific possibilities,” continues Therése. “We want to encourage collaboration and inspiration more than anything else. In the future, when we’re open, I hope to see a lot of people, and a lot of talking. It would be great to see people having deep, interesting conversations, or making drawings together based on a spark of an idea. I want a Campus that’s full of life!”

Collaboration and inspiration are long-term goals, but they have also played a big part of the design and construction process. With so many teams and stakeholders, it’s clearly a complex project. Teams from ESS and Skanska, the contractor in charge of the construction, have worked in a positive, pro-active way, and are on schedule to deliver a Campus that will help make ESS stand out.

“Our decisions have been made based on experience, and on input from the various teams,” concludes Therése. “I think the end result is something special. We want people to feel like they’re in the place to be, and to feel like we’re part of the future. We want to show that ESS is a modern, state-of-the-art facility, and I hope that will be emphasised when the Campus opens its doors.”