In the ever-evolving nature of the modern workplace, the VHI Innovation Hub serves as a node for collaboration and creativity. Situated within a historic church meeting hall, activated by a design process that balanced conservation with rejuvenation, the interior of the Innovation Hub is a departure from the typical office typology. Vaulted ceilings and ornate windows offer a historic backdrop to a contemporary, flexible arrangement, while a vibrant, colourful installation spanning the entire length of the scheme allows for the creation of three adaptable, interconnected spaces, prioritising creativity, convenience, and comfort among its users.
Following the extensive refurbishment of the broader VHI headquarters the decision was made to convert the space into a hub for innovation and collaboration, responding to the fast-paced changes taking place in the insurance industry. The hall’s unique features, with a dramatic vaulted timber ceiling and high windows, facilitated the creation of a hub that resembled no other space in the headquarters, thus fostering a sense of creativity for the users.
Through a design process that balanced conservation and rejuvenation, the meeting hall was re-activated with a series of architectural interventions. This included the partial removal of the roof allowing for the creation of a new building above, encasing the historic structure in an external glass box and showcasing it to the public street.
Taken in its entirety, the VHI Innovation Hub is a study in how human intrigue with historic interiors, and the dramatic features that comprises them, can be used as a tool for feeding the imagination, and for sparking creativity within the user. Given the ever-evolving demands for digital technology in the modern workplace, the VHI Innovation Hub also shows how strategic contemporary additions can become a vehicle for the adaptive reuse of these structures, resulting in highly flexible, adaptable, engaging environments.