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PLP unveils world’s most sustainable office building

PLP Architecture en tant que Architectes.

In 2009 PLP was invited to design The Edge, Deloitte’s new offices in Zuidas, Amsterdam’s business centre. The ambition of the project was two-fold: to consolidate Deloitte’s employees, previously spread around multiple buildings throughout the city, within a single environment; and to create a ‘smart building’, intended as a catalyst for Deloitte’s transition into the digital age.

Our design for the building, which won first prize in the competition and opened earlier this year, addressed these conditions directly. What is the role of architecture when the workplace is permeated by layers of technology that fundamentally alter the way that we interact with our environment? How can design augment these virtual frameworks to create places that encourage spontaneous sociability? We proposed a building that creates a symbolic display out of the informal collaboration spaces and the multitude of different working atmospheres demanded by new patterns of working - flexible and social, physically and virtually interconnected.

Our starting point was the design of a social condenser – a nucleus for the building. Taking the form of an atrium interspersed with bridges and exposed lift cores, which act as nodes of horizontal and vertical activity; this nucleus collates a series of social environments in order to galvanize a specific internal working culture. The atrium acts as a giant theatrical device: a stage that is visible from the surrounding offices which are arrayed as an amphitheatre around it as well as a lens that broadcasts the multiplicity of social encounters as a civic spectacle to the city beyond.

The scale of the space, and the atmospheres created by a subtle differentiation in materials and lighting, make the atrium a natural gathering place. It is lofty but calm, filled with steady north light which filters in through the low-e glass of the atrium façade. As a continuous surface, this façade folds into the roof to animate the building, not only acting as a window that unveils its daily activities to the outside but also framing the varying surroundings to the inside.

In The Edge, employees no longer have assigned desks. This allows them to work anywhere in the building in varying levels of introspection or sociability: there are work-booths, focus rooms, concentration rooms, sitting desks, standing desks, balcony desks, along with the many work-stations within the sun-filled atrium itself. The building adapts to the users’ preferences for lighting and heating via a mobile app, which also allows users to locate their colleagues and find free desks. The combination of app and architecture supports activity-based working: employees actively choose the environment, mood and atmosphere they want to work in for different tasks throughout the day.

While sustainability as a purely technological narrative has been exhausted by its overuse, The Edge creates a radically new working environment which is enabled by sustainable technologies. With the world’s highest rating awarded to an office building by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the global assessor of sustainable buildings, The Edge combines numerous smart technologies in tandem to create an adaptable and intelligent working environment.

The Edge

Kawneer en tant que Fabricants.

The world’s most sustainable office building with a sustainability score of 98,36%, Outstanding certificate and a prestigious BREEAM-award is located in Amsterdam. Recognized as ‘most sustainable office in the word’ it is a beautiful, intelligent and unique building. From the 15 story high atrium, allowing enough light into the building, to the angled roof that pierces the skyline: The Edge is making a worldwide impression. During construction, the most innovative techniques were used. For example: 3D printing technique is applied in the façade that Kawneer developed. They thought of everything for the BREEAM Outstanding-score: from climate control to a light intensity app and from solar collectors to bee nests on the roof. The Edge is not just an experience to enter as a visitor, it is above all a sustainable environment that makes the employee happier and more productive.

The design for the 40.000 m2 big, pentagonal office building with slanted façade was assigned by OVG Projectontwikkeling to PLP Architecture from London and OeverZaaijer architecture and urbanism from Amsterdam. Contractor was G&S Bouw from Amsterdam. While designing and building, sustainability, comfort, productivity from the users and of course future proofing were taken into account. The façade of the Edge plays an important part. The transparent atrium on the north side makes climate control possible, and the solar collectors on the south side are integrated into the façade.

BREEAM certification and active energy concepts At the start of the design they aimed for an Excellent certification, but when it became clear during the process that more was possible, the designers focused on an Outstanding certification. The Edge is one of the biggest buildings in the world with a BREEAM Outstanding certificate. Cees den Ouden, senior project manager at OeverZaaijer, thinks the reward is, aside from the architectural approach, also due to the installation technique. Active energy concepts, like thermal storage, a heat pump system with a connection to district heating, a PV-installation on the south façade and the roof, that exists of hundreds of solar panels and a climate ceiling in the building that delivers both warmth and cooling were used in The Edge. However, these energy concepts can only be optimally used when the outer scale of the building is insulated well.

Striking appearance Thanks to the enormous slanted glass façade, The Edge is a striking appearance on the Zuidas in Amsterdam. The glass atrium of about 3.000 m2, which is constructed from the ground up, is a very eye-catching characteristic of the office building. The glass atrium is used for the ventilation of all 15 floors, the façade allows enough daylight in the building and through the same space warm air is supplied to the building. Especially the top half of the façade was a challenge, because nothing in the façade is straight. ‘The façade has a big surface with large spans and quite a few connections’, explains Den Ouden. ‘Aside from that, the roof does not just slant backwards, it also has a kink in it.’ There is always movement in the façade because of temperature changes, so it is important that the tolerances are properly integrated.

Technical challenges and collaboration The slanted, kinked façade of The Edge turned out to be quite the technical challenge. A design with different angels only would already be difficult. But in this project, the architect wanted there to be perfect vertical lines visible when looking at the building. During this unique project, several complicated processes were necessary to develop and install it all and make everything work perfectly. Each product is designed specifically to meet the needs and demands of this project. The possibility of Kawneer to be able to make custom-made products made sure that Kawneer was top-of-mind with the architects that worked on this project. With her long history of proven engineering and custom-made solutions, Kawneer was asked to deliver systems and solutions for the building. Façade construction company Rollecate from Staphorst collaborated with Kawneer and installed the delivered products and solutions, which were pre-fabricated in Rollecate’s factory.

Kawneer contributes to BREEAM The applied products from Kawneer attribute to the BREEAM-score in different ways. The high performing products from Kawneer cover the biggest part of the façade of the building and supply excellent insulation, with which they help reduce energy loss. The series of solutions Kawneer offered also attribute to BREEAM’s ‘Health and Well-being’ category by making optimal daylighting and transparency possible in the building. And seeing the fact that Kawneer only supplies aluminum products, a sustainable and very efficient construction material, the project also received points in the ‘Materials’ category.

Project solutions and custom-made work The Kawneer products that were processed in The Edge are window system RT 72, curtain wall system AA 100 Q and unitized façade AA 9562. For the wedge-shaped part of the façade that slants backwards, Kawneer made a special project solution. Martijn Bergsma, project engineer at Kawneer, explains: ‘To be able to properly drain rainwater, it was necessary to adjust the contours of the profiles. We gave the profiles the same angle as the roof, keeping the water drainage on the horizontal plane.’ The vertical part from the bottom up is constructed from AA 9562 aluminum unitized facades, prefab elements that are fabricated in Rollecate’s factory. The advantage of assembling in the factory is that it ensures an extra high quality.

3D printing ‘The connections and seals from the slanted façade planes were so complex that conventional seals were not sufficient’, Bergsma says. ‘We solved this by applying innovative 3D print technology.’ After years of research and collaboration with TU Delft to apply 3D printing in facades, in The Edge an actual 3D printed part was put into practice. The seals are drawn out with help from 3D models and then printed with high dimensional tolerance and assembled in the façade. ‘This technique assures high wind and water tightness and in the same time makes sure there is an optimization in the production process.’

Specially developed ventilation vents That the architectural requirements of The Edge demanded some adjustments, recognizes Richard Meyer, field sales manager at Kawneer. ‘In this case the adjustments and tolerances were so complex, that we needed to develop special wooden molds to be able to insulate the profiles.’ That adjustments on aluminum elements are necessary is nothing new, according to Meyer, that happens almost daily, but in this case, it was a delicate process. Not just because of the big spans, but also because there are high requirements with respect to energy savings. ‘This also counts for the window strips on the office floors,’ clarifies Meyer. ‘There, elongated, very small vents are applied in the façade which are built from a single aluminum profile. Hundreds of heat flow calculations had to be made before we optimized the design of those windows and the atrium.’

In the end, the design, development and production of The Edge took about 3 years. An example of Kawneer’s dedication to provide intelligent solutions that deliver high performances, superior thermic efficiency and beautiful aesthetics, making best-in-class design and performance capabilities a reality. ‘We are very proud to have collaborated on such a prestigious project and that our knowledge and innovation has helped contribute to this beautiful building, thus says Meyer.


Axolight en tant que Lighting designer.

The building, called The Edge, was officially inaugurated this past 29th May in Amsterdam, and it is currently a one-of-a- kind example of environmental sustainability in the world.

The Edge, whose surface area of over 40,000 m2 hosts the Deloitte financial and tax consulting headquarters and the law firm AKD, obtained several awards even before its opening, including the highest score ever attributed to an eco-sustainable building by the Building Research Establishment (98.36%) and the new BREEAM certificate issued by the Dutch Green Building Council. For its construction, the most sophisticated technologies were used which, with the minimum environmental impact and taking full advantage of the natural resources, have made it possible to develop an architectural project in sync with nature and with man: Video.

Solar panels installed on the roof and on the facades produce enough electricity to cover the needs of all the offices in the building; heating and cooling are controlled through a geothermal system located 130 metres below ground level; the position of the building was studied so as to take full advantage of sunlight, while rainwater is collected for irrigation purposes as well as for the toilet services.

The Edge was designed by PLP Architecture and built by OVG Real Estate, while the solar energy part was managed by the University of Amsterdam and equipped with an innovative lighting system developed by Philips. This list of illustrious names also includes the Italian company Axo Light, located in the Veneto region, which supplied nine white Bell lamps in an extra large version that light up the impressive foyer of the building.

During the five years that have passed since it was first launched on the market, the Bell lamp has been chosen for a large variety of projects, ranging from private homes, hotels up to public buildings. Bell was one of the first models of the Lightecture line, conceived in 2010 as an answer to the specific requests of the contract sector: in fact, thanks to Lightecture Axo Light not only offers a wide selection of catalogue products, but it is also capable of customising the lamps and adapt them to all kinds of projects. Bell, available as a pendant lamp, ceiling lamp and wall-mounted lamp, consists of a metal structure hand-wrapped in ribbons of super-smooth, fireproof pongè fabric. The pendant lamp, with its bell shape, features an imposing and evocative structure that is well suited for environments such as hotels, restaurants and other contract settings. In its smaller dimensions, Bell is also perfectly suited for private spaces. It is available in ten colours, various sizes (with diameter ranging from 45 to 180 cm) and multiple variants of light sources.

The Edge

Forbo Flooring Systems en tant que Flooring.

Deloitte's new corporate headquarters in Amsterdam has been certified as the most sustainable office building in the world by BREEAM. The Edge was awarded an "Outstanding" rating with the highest ever BREEAM score of 98.36 percent. BREEAM (short for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) is an approach for assessing and rating the sustainability of buildings.


Fokkema & Partners Architecten B.V. en tant que Architectes d'intérieur.

Designing the complete office environment for Deloitte and AKD in the Edge, a remarkable effort was made by Fokkema & Partners to make the interior of the new building with its grand atrium feel welcoming, comfortable, efficient and super sustainable. It now sets a benchmark in office design in terms of quality, sustainability and user comfort.

Work floors are laid out to provide abundant daylight to the work stations. The terraces in the atrium, each with a different function, provide the building with a human scale and make the atrium a fully equipped and usable space that stimulates communication. This is complemented with innovative smart technology, to regulate the climate and light over individual workspaces according to personal preferences. And of course all materials used had to pass the sustainability test.

The Edge was designed by PLP Architecture from London and developed by OVG, working in close partnership with Deloitte and AKD. The multi-tenant office building achieved a BREEAM qualification of ‘outstanding’, with a score of 98,36 percent, making it the most sustainable office building worldwide recorded by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the global assessor of sustainable buildings.


Maars Living Walls en tant que Fabricants.

The building The Edge is developed by OV Real Estate and build by G&S Bouw and is located at the most important and largest business centre of the Netherlands. The building has received a score of 98% of the Building Research Establishment, an organization which assesses sustainable buildings all over the world. Never before a building in the world has receive this impressive high score. The Edge has a floor surface of approx. 40.000m² and is completely energy neutral.

Maars has manufactured and installed more than 8.000 sq.m. of its Metaline, String² and Panorama relocatable wall systems in the offices on the 14 floors. The customized wall systems were able to meet the strict HEA 13 and MAT 5 requirements of BREEAM together with the practical requirements concerning the transportation of the materials. Also 276 Maars XL glass doors with double seal and double threshold have been installed in The Edge.

Sustainable water solutions to minimise plastic bottles in the work place

GROHE en tant que Fabricants.

The Dutch real estate developer and investor OVG Real Estate has accomplished the most sustainable office building in the world and has now been honoured with the highest rating ever awarded by the global certifier for sustainable real estate, the Building Research Establishment (BREEAM). The Edge in Amsterdam has been given a BREEAM “outstanding” rating. OVG Real Estate worked closely together with the main user of the building, the world’s leading accounting and consulting company Deloitte, while putting the project into practice. By using innovative and intelligent technologies, the office building of 40,000m², scored a rating of 98.36 percent. Previously, the One Embankment Place in London was ranked first. It is the first building that utilises LED lighting from Philips connected to ethernet. Employees can use their smart phones to adjust the light and the temperature individually at their workplace. This innovation not only saves energy costs but also helps to control the energy efficiency of the building based on the data collected.

OVG’s office kitchen features GROHE Blue and GROHE Red faucets. GROHE Red

allows you to draw filtered kettle-hot water directly from the faucet without having to wait, while GROHE Blue purifies ordinary tap water. The built-in cooling unit and exchangeable carbonisation bottle add the desired chill and sparkle. Since many people bring their own sparkling water in plastic bottles into work, because they are concerned about the impact tap water might have on their health, GROHE Blue actually helps people to minimise their impact on the environment by lowering their consumption of plastic, architect Ron Bakker explained.

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