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Benthem Crouwel Architects

© Jannes Linders


Benthem Crouwel Architects as Design, Architecture

ING moved their international office to the Bijlmerdreef in the southeast of Amsterdam (a residential and commercial area). Several ING offices are already located here. The move is part of ING’s ‘Think Forward’ strategy, which was implemented in 2014 and emphasizes innovation, flexibility and being part of the community. The new office is part of a lively environment, where the space between the various offices, a multitude of connecting routes and the quality of the outdoor space, will be almost as important as the buildings themselves.

Benthem Crouwel Architects designed the new office and collaborated with landscape architects karres + brands in developing the plan for the plot. By moving the building back from the edge of the plot, and by making a subterranean parking garage, lots of space is created for pedestrians and bikers – quite unique for this area which was originally mostly designed for motorized traffic.

The new office stands as a modest and approachable volume in the midst of this green area. The activity, light and spaciousness that characterize the outside area continues in the building: the ground floor houses an open restaurant and informal meeting places. The completely transparent facades offer generous views of the greenery and the trees, and highlight the openness and accessibility ING wants to express. Interior and exterior are a unity. “They reinforce each other”, says Pascal Cornips, partner at Benthem Crouwel Architects.

Thanks to the canopies that are attached to the facades (extra deep on the sides that are most exposed to sunlight, more narrow on the sides that get more natural shadow), this is also a very sustainable building, which combines an excellent and comfortable internal climate with minimal energy consumption. The new ING office is awarded with the BREEAM score Outstanding, the highest possible certificate. A variety of sustainable solutions makes this building energy neutral.

Together with the park, the new office vitalizes the liveliness of Amsterdam Zuidoost, and makes the whole area more attractive for both residents, people who work there and future investors: a sustainable, inspiring building in a green and welcoming setting.

The new ING  office was developed by a consortium of OVG Real Estate and G&S Vastgoed. Benthem Crouwel Architects collaborated with HofmanDujardin, responsible for the interior design of the building.

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Cedar ING Offices

HofmanDujardin as Design, Interior And Platforms

ING’s new office, designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects and HofmanDujardin, is open!

On January 7th Cedar, the new office for the Netherlands’ largest bank, was officially opened in Cumulus Park in Amsterdam. The transparent and sustainable new home for 2.800 ING employees was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects and HofmanDujardin. The office embodies ING’s new way of working: agile, flexible and innovative, and inspires people to meet, connect and be creative.


A new type of office
Cedar consists of two five storey volumes connected by a glass footbridge that ensures a fast link between all levels. The building, the interior and the surrounding park are designed as an integral, welcoming whole, establishing a new typology for financial institutions: instead of emphasizing security and power, the architecture focuses on transparency, connectivity and collaboration. The highly sustainable, human centric design is a notable example of ING’s purpose to empower people in a building that opens itself up to society. The design received the sustainability label BREEAM-NL Outstanding.


An office in the green
Cedar is located in Amsterdam Zuidoost at Cumulus Park, an innovation district initiated by ING and now a joint effort of ING and the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the Amsterdam Community College (ROC Amsterdam). It is a dynamic environment for creative collaborations between entrepreneurs, scientists, students, (mid) corporates, researchers and innovators. Cedar has a unique location on Cumulus Park. Benthem Crouwel Architects’ decision to move the building all the way to the back of the plot created a large green zone in front of the building. This urban garden, designed by Karres en Brands landscape architects, becomes the heart of the innovation district - connecting buildings, users, residents and visitors and upgrading the public space of this area where green is scarce.


Because of its all-round orientation the building presents itself as an accessible volume that matches its surroundings with the low-rise buildings and level differences in urban landscape. A bike route cuts directly through the building, further emphasizing how this building is not an obstacle to move around, but an integral part of the urban space, improving connectivity.


Designed to connect
“Both the urban planning and architecture of Cedar evolve around connectivity,” says Pascal Cornips, architect and partner at Benthem Crouwel Architects. “Cedar links people, the neighborhood and society together in a creative and inspiring way. The transparency of the building’s facades perfectly embodies ING’s new philosophy with its focus on collaboration, empowerment and openness, but also ensures employees are always in touch with the green world outside.” The smooth, curved facades and floor to ceiling windows give Cedar a friendly and approachable front. The rounded canopies that wrap around the facade visually connect the two volumes and give the building a human scale, while simultaneously serving as sunscreens that protect the workspaces from the heat of the sun.


Inside, bright and airy atriums are the central heart of the office and allow daylight to flood the building. The wide dimensions and the wide floor span of the low-rise building guarantee ample square meters on every floor and large open spaces that are perfect for an agile work environment. The way the floor plan layout is organized around and through the atriums allows for efficient and fast routing. The open floor plans give the employees optimal flexibility and also make alternative use in the future possible, if desired.


An empowering interior
HofmanDujardin designed both the full interior and the dynamic, floating platforms and staircases that criss-cross the two spacious atriums at the building’s heart.


“The interior of Cedar is all about empowerment and well-being. You feel the freedom when you walk in. The platforms connect places and people and bring the vibrancy up to the highest levels of the building”, explain Barbara Dujardin and Michiel Hofman, founding partners of HofmanDujardin. On the lively ground floors a world of possibilities opens: you can visit the coffee bar, food court or event halls or take a seat in one of the various informal meeting places. Customers can also visit the in-house bank office. The layered range of environments matches the variety of individual wishes of a big bank’s staff. All places have a human scale and carry their own qualities and atmosphere, while everything is harmonious and connected.


Atrium and platforms
The expressive wooden platforms symbolise the 21st century bank’s identity as a digital platform. They form grounded spaces and create physical and visual connections that naturally stimulate ING’s employees to collaborate. Visible from everywhere around the atriums, they also provide orientation points and encourage people to take the stairs. The platforms are fast becoming favorite places to hold spontaneous meetings and small gatherings. Flexible and moveable metal frames allow them to act as temporary ‘rooms’ for anything from business meetings to interior gardens, art exhibitions or a break-time birthday celebration.


Orange Workplace
All office floors are accessed from the platforms through warm textured entrance zones, each with their unique furnishing to create recognizable diversity. There is one single floor layout concept throughout the building with a well-balanced mix of spaces. This agile environment gives full freedom to choose where and how to work and meet. In between the areas with team tables and scrum boards, there are colorful clusters of meeting rooms in different sizes, accommodating anything from private calls to group meetings. Furthermore, each level has a silent area for concentration, with a reading table and a series of private booths. Throughout the building excellent acoustics ensure a sense of well-being and make it easy to focus.


Lots of plants, big trees and 300 works from ING’s large collection of art add another layer to the experience of the interior. All is finished with a balanced palette of warm tones and natural materials, while a touch of orange hints at ING’s strong visual identity. This makes the generous building not just an empowering and healthy place to work, it also gives this leading bank a new face.

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Project Credits
Design, Architecture
Design, Interior And Platforms
Landscape Design
Client - Architecture
Client - Interior
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