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.
A.S.R Headquarters Renovation in Utrecht, The Netherlands by Team V Architecture
August 24th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Team V Architecture
The a.s.r. headquarters in Utrecht have been completely renovated by Team V Architecture. The colossal office building of 86,000 square meters now complies fully with current standards of sustainability, comfort and appearance. The new climate facade, spacious voids and green winter gardens provide a pleasant office environment with plenty of natural light. The renovation made the outdated seventies building much more energy efficient; the energy consumption has been reduced by over 50%. Remarkably, the building remained in continuous use during the renovation.
The appearance of the office building has changed to an astonishing extent. It now looks spacious, light and airy. Only the thick concrete pillars give away that this is not new. The climate façade makes the building lighter and more energy-efficient. Winter gardens – bright open spaces with mature trees – have been laid out between the outer and inner façade. The highest winter garden admits daylight to the newly added underground conference centre. Floors have been cut away to create voids, admitting plenty of daylight to what used to be dark and gloomy worksites and creating a very attractive, open working environment.
The façade design combines good looks and well-thought-out technical performance. The orientation of the windows on each floor varies, giving the building a layered appearance reminiscent of the original façade. At the same time, the slanting façade sections ensure that reflected daylight penetrates far into the building and guarantee optimum circulation of ventilation air through the cavity. Moreover, the light-weight prefab facade cladding can be mounted quickly, cleanly and without undue noise.
Unique, surprising overall concept
The architecture, interior design and garden lay-out combine to form a strong overall concept, which is worked out to the finest detail. The slanting lines of the façade are repeated in the walls of the conference units, the edges of the atria with built-in worksites and the design of the tree planters. The building is divided into three wings, which are given individual colour schemes – green, yellow and purple – for ease of orientation. These colours are repeated in the floor and wall finishings, and even in the choice of the plants in winter gardens and roof terraces. These features distinguish the design of the a.s.r. offices from that of a conventional office building, giving it a surprising, instantly recognisable look.
The design of the work environment is based on flexibility, collaboration and casual meetings. The 2,800 flexible worksites provide room for 4,000 users. There is a great diversity of workplaces, like enclosed spaces for concentrated work or making phone calls, comfortable lounge areas for informal meetings and flexi-work tables for collaborative work. The public area, with a coffee bar, brasserie, conference centre, work lounge and restaurant, offers a varied and inspiring work environment.
Sustainable and energy efficient
The building has been rated BREEAM Excellent for sustainability. During construction 98% of the demolition waste has been recycled. For example, concrete rubble has been used to lay out bicycle tracks. Not only the building has been renovated, also a great deal of the old furniture has been redone and reused. With the new facade and building installations, including the climate ceiling, user responsive lighting and heath-cold storage, energy consumption has been reduced by over 50%. In addition, 1,200 solar panels have been placed on the roof. Green facades, birdhouses, roof gardens and beehives contribute to the local ecological structure. All these measurements allow the renovated buidling to compete with newly constructed buildings regarding sustainability.
Team V Architecture
Team V Architecture is an architecture firm based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The architecture of Team V is effective and refined. Robust and functional. Expressive and original. The uniqueness and strength lies in the precision and character of our response. Team V is distinguished by an integrated approach and puts the joint result first. We bring our collective expertise with complex projects to the table. And our personal experience as designers. In every process we make use of the competencies of others. Together we create the best possible result. A synergy of function and beauty.
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