Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Bella Donna in Amstelveen, Netherlands by Benthem Crouwel Architects
June 26th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Benthem Crouwel Architects
In the old part of Amstelveen, stemming from the thirties, an office building and a pavilion together form the Bella Donna. The original buildings were designed in the sixties by the architect Webbers. They are situated on an island, surrounded by greenery and water and reachable via a bridge. The client was looking for a new office for his organization, when he came across the Bella Donna. Charmed by the green park-like setting he decided to settle in the pavilion, while the main building was re-designed to rent to others. This major renovation and expansion was the starting point to create a high-quality office near the Stadshart Amstelveen. The Bella Donna now has an exclusive look at a clearing in a woody area.
The main building of the Bella Donna has broadly retained its outlines and consists of three office wings and a central entrance area. It has three floors, with the top floor being the penthouse. The facade has been completely renovated and equipped with an all-glass façade punctuated by horizontal concrete strips at the floor and roof level. The façade of the building is characterized by the particular placement of the glass facade. Alternately open and closed glass facades are placed at an angle. This creates a serrated facade which a dynamic appearance. The extending floor edges are fitted with white high-strength concrete panels. The new penthouse has an omnidirectional orientation and offers space for three luxurious meeting rooms.
The office wings have a flexible layout and can be used as separate units. In the central part of the building is the entrance with a double-height space. From this central area all wings are accessible. Supporting functions such as toilet room, staircase etc. are also housed in the central part.
The existing independent annex was demolished and replaced by a new pavilion. The pavilion is used as office space by the client. It is characterized by a fully glazed façade that both at bottom and on top is enclosed by, respectively, a concrete floor and roof. The four meter headroom and large glass facades connect the building with the park-like green and provide an open character. The roof with its large overhangs provides natural shading for the offices. These offices are located in a ring around the enclosed patio. The patio is equipped with a movable glass roof of 8 by 12 meters and ensures daylight for the interior spaces.
An explicit wish of the client was the realization of an underground car park. The pavilion closes the car park on the upper side, while the edges are cut away by the rising floors of the pavilion for the benefit of natural light and ventilation. Both the main building and the pavilion seem to float above the ground level because of the detailing. The pavilion ‘floats’ above the car park.
The concrete base structure at the location of the office wings of the main building has been preserved and in the new facade, the current energy requirements are applied. There is a high quality insulating façade with solar glass and there are solar panels installed on the roofs of both buildings. The installation of an energy roof at the pavilion offers great returns. Water flowing through tubes in the roof is heated and used to keep the source of the heat and cold storage, which is also present, in balance.
Due to the profound, stylish and eco-renovation design by Benthem Crouwel Architects, Bella Donna has a contemporary character once again with timeless beauty.
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