The strategy for a.s.r.’s 1970’s office building renovation was to preserve what worked, and upgrade what didn’t. This gargantuan structure with 86,000m2 of floor space was stripped down and fitted with new façades, an underground conference center and a completely new interior including the addition of voids. Remarkably, the office remained in use throughout the renovation. The end result is the astonishing transformation of a dated, imposing workspace into a bright, leafy, open office complex, as well as an ‘excellent’ rating from BREEAM for sustainability.
The new façade makes the building brighter and more energy efficient. The double-layer, climate-regulating façade on the east, west and south sides, features integrated ventilation and solar shading. The sawtooth-shaped cassettes on the façade change direction on each floor to allow horizontal articulation, a nod to the original design. The windowless technical space allows for a living façade with plants and nesting boxes for birds.
The outer layer of the double façade fits around the existing building like an oversized coat, creating extra space for winter gardens throughout the building. The tallest winter garden at the heart of the building brings daylight all the way down to the new underground conference centre. Greenery forms an integral aspect of the office concept and creates a refreshing working environment. Almost every floor enjoys access to a rooftop garden or winter garden.
Edges of voids
The angled lines of the façade recur throughout the building; on walls, reception desks, tree tubs and in the cloakroom. Large central voids have been excavated out of what were once gloomy office floors. Angled balustrades along the voids feature integrated workspaces. These are finished in white Corian to transfer daylight deep into the building, while white felt covers the undersides to improve acoustics. A heating system has been incorporated into the balustrades to offset the effect of cold draughts, just one example of this projects’ hallmark features; optimal integration of architecture, technology and interior.