Shimmering Relief

Aug. 6, 2020

Approaches to dealing with ceiling spaces deliver not only practical functionality, but outright wonder.

Benthem Krauwel Architects

In Amsterdam, nearly 7000 polished aluminum “leaves” turned a renovated office building into a piece of functional art for workers and the community. Formerly empty, the building was transformed by Benthem Crouwel Architects into distinctive, energy-positive offices for the Dutch Charity Lotteries: Goede Doelen Loterijen.

A major goal was to gather the company’s approximately 600 employees—formerly at different branches—into a single location. The new offices also needed to be highly sustainable and communicate the company’s social activities. In addition to offices, the building includes a public restaurant, an auditorium and a TV studio.

Saartje van der Made, partner at Benthem Crouwel Architects, and one of the leading project architects, participated in planning meetings attended by the clients and future users. “Site visits, workshops and creative sessions made it clear that one of the main wishes was to bring the parks at former locations to the new office environment,” she relates. “Combined with the organization’s sustainability ambitions, this inspired us to cover the existing structure with a new roof, a roof that both shelters the employees and brings them all together.”

Light filters through the folded aluminum panels innovated by the designers for the roof. “Roof gardens and terraces with lots of greenery create a space that embodies nature and trees in the middle of the business district,” says van der Made. The roof extends to form an awning over adjacent outdoor areas. Dark, slender, full-height tree-shaped columns, indoors and outside, provide roof support. The exterior roof’s reflection, visible from afar, changes appearance depending on the time of day. Integrated into the roof are 949 solar panels and a rainwater collection system for green roof irrigation. Materials from the building’s renovation were reused where suitable. New materials were selected for their sustainable and recyclable qualities.

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