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SAP Galway

  • Architect:
    Bucholz McEvoy Architects
  • Award Type:
    Regional Award 2005
  • Location: Connacht
SAP Galway


Western Over €3,000,000

Architect’s Comment
The speed with which office development happens in Ireland often produces buildings which have no relationship to their environment. They are placed and constructed from so-called ‘practical’ or ‘utilitarian’ reasons. Given specific time constraints and specific environmental and functional constraints how can architecture be created from purely utilitarian interpretation of these constraints?  That is the problem we had to solve in the design of SAP Galway’s building.

The building had to be completely designed before site selection was finalized; therefore it was decided to treat the function, a workplace with a specific task for a software company, and the environment, Longitude 9° W and Latitude 53° 15’ N, as the site. A building optimized to these conditions could fit in any site. The building is designed to create a balanced environment for employee comfort and working, which used the minimum amount of energy from non-renewable resources. The building environmentally is a high density occupancy building with high ventilation demand and high cooling load. Free cooling using outside air is the only cooling source utilized. An atrium separates office floor-plates which are connected via bridge structures.

On the floor-plates are the work spaces, and on the bridges are the relaxing zone. The atrium is the driving environmental force for the building and obviates the need for mechanical extraction systems. The concrete frame is exposed pre-cast structure, the façade and atrium have been designed to optimize natural light, shading, and ventilation of the office space.

Clients’ Comment
SAP’s Galway facility is a ‘Contact Centre’: a place where direct technical queries are received and dealt with on the telephone. This is SAP’s first contact centre internationally, therefore it was important that the building be both flexible, and tailored for the work-culture.

The age profile is young, 19-21, post leaving cert: at this age people have little or no experience of working in an office. This being their first office experience it will condition their performance and expectations vis-à-vis workplace etiquette, practices, the relationship between what they do and the environment within which they do it.

Language is controlling feature of team composition. Teams deal with a specific language or language groups, therefore the overall composition of the office is highly international.

Productivity is key; knowledge sharing may happen between people, however due to the fact that they answer queries over the telephone they will not ‘overhear’ conversations about similar problems. It is anticipated that similar issues will be dealt with by circulating them via email. 6min. response time means that people must think on their feet, and generally should not need to consult directly with colleagues.

Innovative and technically accomplished- this is a "prototype" office building designed for a site of an assumed orientation. Its elegant form and construction derive from clear rational planning, meticulous detailing and flawless construction. The atrium drives the environmental design while creating a spatially rich interior environment for the building users.