Dogpatch Labs is a CoWorking office for scaling technology start-ups located in the historic chq building in the Dublin Docklands, a bonded storehouse used in its former life to store imported tobacco and alcohol. Some of Dogpatch Labs’ alumni include Instagram, BarkBox, Fluid and TaskRabbit.
The space was designed to be open plan so everyone is in the same room but, to be functional, a degree of separation is needed between companies. It was interesting to see how the floor plan of a furniture store actually works very well as an office.
CoWorking space has found itself in a grey area between office and retail and is actually a competitor to companies like Starbucks. They essentially provide the same thing-a comfortable place to sit, strong coffee and fast internet. The concept was pioneered by Starbucks as the ‘third place’ in people’s lives (in addition to home and work) but is now evolving into CoWorking membership facilities like Wework. It has gained huge popularity with the mobile worker who does not need a permanent office and wants to be a part of a community of very motivated workers.
Budget restraints and the nature of the project provided a great opportunity to be creative with materials: Timber wine boxes were adapted to shelving; re-purposed postal tubes stacked together became a meeting room divider; reclaimed timber for making furniture and salvaged ventilation turbines for coffee tables. These materials sit nicely with the old red brick walls of the storehouse, while workers are offered views out to the sophisticated steel roof structure. The feeling of old and new resonates throughout the building and tells a number of stories through its layered history. A new partnership with Ulster Bank enabled client Patrick Walsh of Dogpatch to develop the vaults (Phase 2).
Phase 2 expands the office downstairs into the vaulted spaces beneath, historically used for storing wine and whiskey. The structure below is of stone and brick formed as groin and arched vaults. It is a great opportunity that has brought to life a part of ‘hidden Dublin’ that is rarely seen.
“Start up culture is opportunistic allowing them to thrive in buildings and spaces that have been left unused or even derelict. This can have a knock on effect to businesses in areas that may have fallen idle in recent years, one example being the change of use in this unit of the chq Building.” (Harry Browne, architectural graduate and designer of Dogpatch.)
“CoWorking spaces differ from traditional office environments and are centred on the idea of collaboration. Desks are smaller and organised so teams face each other while they work rather than corner offices looking away from each other, which are less favourable. Informal interactions between companies happen as chance encounters in the generous break out spaces, a similar concept adopted from hotel and airport lobby design.” (Robert Reid, architectural graduate and designer of Dogpatch.)