A Dutch government building by UN Studio provides a new benchmark for sustainable high-rise offices.
UN Studio’s Education Executive Agency & Tax building is one of Holland’s most sustainable office complexes. Situated in a public park with a pond and multi-functional pavilion, the 92-metre-high building accommodates 2500 workstations and there are parking spaces for 1500 bicycles and 675 cars in an underground car park.
The brief called for a future-proof design combining flexibility, sustainability and a sober aesthetic. Asymmetric massing and gently undulating forms are intended to show the institution as organic, friendly, and future-oriented. Combining cellular and open-plan offices, floor plates are organised around two service cores. ‘We paid a great deal of attention to how people would move through the building’, says UN Studio principal Ben van Berkel. ‘The office spaces are designed so each route introduces a kind of landscape into the building. You can take endless walks through the building, and there is a great deal of transparency both within the building and out to the surrounding landscape.’
Reducing the floor heights from 3.6 to 3.3 metres has resulted in an overall height reduction of 7.5 metres, which helps lessen the environmental and visual impact of the development. Projecting V-shaped fins at the perimeter of each floor level help control solar gain, daylight penetration and air flow. Thermal mass, in the form of exposed concrete columns and floor slabs, combined with a below-ground energy storage system, ensure a stable internal environment, as well as reducing energy demand. A high-pressure ventilation system, with natural inflow and outflow via riser shafts and facade grilles on the eleventh floor, minimises the need for artificial ventilation. Each workstation has access to adjustable heating, ventilation and daylight.
Moreover, the complex is designed for adaptation to domestic use without major structural modification by adopting a grid of 1.2 metres rather than the conventional 1.8 metres, and the stairs, lifts and plant are planned accordingly.
Architect: UNStudio; structure: Arup; prefabricated structure: Ingenieursbureau Wassenaar; qs, project manager: Strukton Bouw en Vastgoed; services: Peutz; landscape: Lodewijk Baljon; signage: Buro van Baar; internal logistics: YNNO; acoustics: DGMR; fire prevention: EFPC; drawing agency: BTS Bouwkundig Tekenburo Sneek; maintenance: ISS Nederland BV; ecology: Wageningen University & Research centre; main contractor: Strukton Betonbouw.
ET26 May 2011 p12