Located in Patronka, Bratislava, the campus replaces a former military hospital between the Carpathian Mountains and the city center of Bratislava. As the winning proposal of a global design competition, BIG was retained as the architect in 2019 to design a creative, green, collaborative hub where bold cybersecurity solutions come to life. The campus is expected to break ground in 2024, with a planned opening in 2027.
Spanning the forested nature site just 10 minutes from city center, the campus consists of 12 individual buildings of varying sizes and uses organized around a central courtyard. The buildings on the outer perimeter will be designated public spaces, while 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’s design for the new neighborhood replicates the spatial hierarchy of nature – the low and broad perimeter of the shared public spaces is easily accessible to all, allowing public life to flourish within the network of streets. The higher peak of the architectural ‘mountain’ reminiscent of the Carpathian Mountains nearby, houses the ESET business, providing 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,” says 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.”
On the north-west side, the campus opens up 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. 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.
The main courtyard, located at the center of the four ESET HQ buildings, acts as a focal point for the local community. Public spaces serving retail, educational, sports, and cultural purposes are scattered around this courtyard, animating the ground floor and activating the network of streets. The overall massing of the campus has 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.
Upon entering the main ESET HQ lobby – located in 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.
The campus will be powered by all-electric energy, relying on renewable sources – including PV roofing – that will contribute to the campus’ carbon negative goal. ESET’s exterior will utilize timber and glass to help create high-performance façade system; balconies will provide additional outdoor spaces and shading while providing natural ventilation to maximise the campus’ energy efficiency.
©Images BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and BLOOM