The transformation of the Dutch Ministry of Finance building was a government pilot project in using a new procurement system, which wholly changed the way public building projects were implemented and managed. The original 1970s design was by definition a bulky, impersonal, imposing concrete structure. The objective to improve public accessibility and engagement to this government building was paramount.
The new procurement method, dubbed the DBFMO, placed the Design, Build, Finance, Maintenance and Operations of the building in the hands of a consortium of private partners. This produced a comprehensive end-to-end solution which was considerably cheaper over the life cycle of the building. This DBFMO public-private partnership produced new financial efficiencies which, in turn, supported sustainability goals.
The new energy-efficient building accommodating 1,850 workspaces over seven floors, features a transparent double-glazed facade integrated into the existing concrete structure. This creates a buffer between the exterior and interior walls, housing the main ventilation ducting while providing thermal control and acoustic enhancement. In addition, an aquifer is used to store thermal energy by taking advantage of a natural underground water reservoir. Together, these measures result in an Energy per Space Coefficient (EPC) of 0.89, well below the maximum of 1.40 required for accreditation.
Designed in the Brutalist style, the material choices and spatial dimensions of the original structure do not lend themselves to creating a welcoming atmosphere. While solid Brutalist elements have been retained in aspects of the office interiors, the use of glass has changed the way people relate to, and use the public aspects of this Government building. Two internal courtyards have been transformed: one given back to the city as an external semi-public meeting space, and the other converted into an internal garden under a new glass roof. The communal areas of the Ministry have been positioned in and around this centrally located, light and transparent atrium, while the flexible use of these open spaces embeds the office complex into the urban fabric beyond.
*Delivered by MVSA Meyer and Van Schooten Architects