A running track, elevated hydroponic gardens and a miniature “mountain” combine in this fun, new office headquarters for the non-profit Leping Foundation in Beijing, China. Designed by the prolific local design practice People’s Architecture Office (PAO), the mostly open-plan office landscape was created to foster health and wellness. Covering an area of 1,100 square meters, the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation Headquarters unites four of the company’s departments with a suspended vegetated loop and a running track underneath.
Known for its social innovation work, the headquarters of the Leping Foundation covers four distinct fields: job training for migrant workers, agricultural research, preschool education and microfinance. To cultivate a sense of community among the different fields, the People’s Architecture Office created an office that fosters collaboration and interaction.
The activity loop track that snakes through the various departments encourages office workers to take breaks and walk laps around the office. In addition to the open kitchen, dining area and lounge, the architects also added a “mini mountain” integrated with stairs to give workers a way to “hike” up to the mezzanine level. The office also includes a separate gym, a meditation space and a meeting room.
“The wall design reminds users of the importance of staying active and changing positions,” the architects explained. “Gradating bands of blue span the height of the walls and columns at 60-cm intervals. Recommended periods of time spent at each height are given and each of these correspond with certain postures and activities, which include laying down, sitting, walking and climbing.”
The suspended hydroponic gardens that are filled with edible plants and aromatic herbs not only add beauty and a source of food for the office, but they also help clean the indoor air. The gardens are complemented with an advanced air filtration system — an important addition given Beijing’s notoriety for severe air pollution. Indoor air quality data is regularly collected, monitored and displayed in real time above the running track.
Photography by Jing Weiqi via People’s Architecture Office