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.