Commissioned by the Chief government Architect VMX performed a study for a sustainable office building with an environmental index of minimal 350. Most recently built office buildings have a score around 150. Located at the South Axis in Amsterdam the office building has space for 1,000 employees and supporting facilities.
The starting point for our approach is the belief that our generation has lost its natural adjustment to the natural environment. While animals have a summer and winter fur and our parents would put on a jumper during wintertime, we seem to have forgotten about these rather simple but in fact truly ‘green’ measures. To deal with ever changing temperatures, we trust on technology rather than on our own flexibility. Our design combines the most natural summer and winter situation. It is based on a compact building with connected modules of which two modules share one balcony, similar to the open-air school by J. Duiker. The covered balconies provide shade for workspaces and can be closed off by heavy curtains that provide more shade. The connected modules together enclose a spacious open-air void in between.
The building has a solid concrete construction of Misapor that also functions as the thermal skin. Misapor is concrete supplemented with the rest product of recycled glass, it reaches an insulating value of 6 (Rc value). The solid skin in combination with a 65% closed facade ensures that warmth is kept outside in summer without extra cooling and is kept inside in winter only with additional heating through concrete core activation in extreme conditions. Each floor has natural ventilation using cool air from the north side that forces warm air out via the south facing balconies.
The overall design saves substantially on energy use and installations and delivers in a low-tech way, without technical support, an environmental index of 379.