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BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Slovakia Architecture News - Nov 30, 2021 - 11:58   2490 views

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

BIG together with Inflow, Pantograph, BuroHappold, and Arup have revealed design for a new tech neighborhood in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The team has won a global competition to design a 55,000-square-metre tech complex, BIG was retained as the architect in 2019. The design scheme will be a creative, green, collaborative hub where bold cybersecurity solutions come to life.  

Set to be located in Patronka, Bratislava, the campus will replace a former military hospital between the Carpathian Mountains and the city center of Bratislava. 

Named ESET Campus, the new tech campus, spanning the forested nature site just 10 minutes from city center, consists of 12 individual buildings of varying sizes and uses organized around a central courtyard. 

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

The outer perimeter of the buildings will be designated public spaces. The four of the buildings situated on the inside of the site will be home to ESET’s 1,500 employees - with the potential to scale up to 2,400 employees. 

BIG establishes a new network of streets for the new neighborhood that replicates the spatial hierarchy of nature. Taking consideration of the low and broad perimeter of the shared public spaces, the shared spaces are easily accessible to all, allowing public life to flourish within these streets.

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia  

The ESET's main business facilities are placed on the higher peak of the architectural ‘mountain’ reminiscent of the Carpathian Mountains nearby. This volume provides the company’s teams with innovative facilities while maintaining privacy.

"Rather than a single hermetic entity, we have dissolved the ESET Campus into an urban village of interconnected buildings, framing public paths and urban squares," said Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. 

"The diverse cluster of individual pavilions are unified by the undulating solar roofs - forming a single silhouette rising from the forested park like a man-made addition to the Little Carpathians mountain range." 

"Together with the adjacent University, the ESET Campus is set to spark the formation of Bratislava’s new innovation district," Ingels added.

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

On the north-west side, the campus opens up itself to the park - providing protection from both the busy main street and the railway, and connecting the wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains with the city. 

As the building is embedded into the existing natural landscape, the park is filled with public areas for recreation, interaction, and relaxation while boosting local biodiversity and creating pockets suitable for outdoor working. 

"We believe it’s crucial for ESET to lead by example in innovation and technology. We will ensure that our Campus houses the latest technologies, and clever and efficient solutions to achieve the highest levels of sustainability," said Palo Luka, Chief Operations Officer, ESET. 

"We will aim for a carbon neutral campus operation, but we’ve got an ambition to also reduce the embodied carbon by building it in the most sustainable way possible, and we believe our partnership with BIG will help us achieve this."

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

The campus has a main courtyard, located at the center of the four ESET HQ buildings. This courtyard is aimed to act as a focal point for the local community. Public spaces, such as serving retail, educational, sports, and cultural purposes, are scattered around this courtyard, animating the ground floor and activating the network of streets. 

BIG divides the overall massing into different volumes so that the volumes have multiple frontages. The open corners of the four ESET HQ blocks, in combination with views into each building from the surrounding streets, create inviting moments that further connect the exterior with the interior. 

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

"The ESET campus will set a new benchmark for sustainability," said Andreas Klok Pedersen, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. 

"The design goal is an entirely electric building, with the vast solar roof and ground source heat pumps creating a significant amount of renewable energy. The use of timber throughout the project ensures lowest possible carbon footprint."

Upon entering the main ESET HQ lobby - which is the largest building of the campus – ESET employees are greeted by a cascading staircase that connects the ground floor with the upper levels. 

While each of ESET HQ’s four buildings have a central atrium - lit with skylights in areas of the floorplates that would otherwise be dark – the stairs in the main ESET HQ lobby atrium are surrounded with social spaces and biophilia, enhancing the connection of the active ground level to the upper office levels.  

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

To contribute to the campus' carbon negative goal, the campus will be powered by all-electric energy, relying on renewable sources - including PV roofing. 

The buildings' façade will be clad in timber and glass to help create high-performance façade system. The team will add balconies to provide additional outdoor spaces and shading while providing natural ventilation to maximise the campus’ energy efficiency.

The campus is expected to break ground in 2024, with a planned opening in 2027. 

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

BIG designs new central European AI and cybersecurity hub in Slovakia

Image courtesy of BIG

Recently, it was announced that BIG's floating city concept is set to be built in South Korea. BIG, ICON and Lennar is currently working on the world’s largest neighborhood of 3D printed homes in Austin. 

Project facts

Name:  ESET Campus
Site Size: 90,000 M2
Building Size: 55,000 M2
Location:  Bratislava, Slovakia
Client: ESET
Program: Office headquarters, commercial, retail, conference hall, 20 units of co-living
Construction type: New construction
Typology: Tech campus 

Project team

Collaborators: Inflow, Pantograph, BuroHappold, ARUP
Partner-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Andreas Klok Pedersen
Project Leader: Ioannis Gio
Team: Andy Young, Matilde Tavanti, Ludka Majernikova, Carmen Simone, Boni Yuen, Florencia Kratsman, Gualtiero Mario Rulli, Jason Chia, Lorenzo Boddi, Maria de Salvador Arnaiz, Michela Cardia, Pedro Nunes, Richard Sean McIntyre, Rihards Dzelme, Sasha Lukianova, Solveig Jappy, Stefan Plugaru, Vincent Katienin Konate, Youngjin Jun, Anna Maria Pazurek.  

All renderings © BLOOM

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