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Paul de Ruiter Architects as Architects


On Valschermkade (Amsterdam), in the creative industry hotspot De Schinkel, Paul de Ruiter Architects has developed its own new sustainable office building. A former steel workshop was entirely renovated and transformed into a new multi-business building, which presently serves as a business location for various creative companies.

The building, which offers a fine view of the water of De Schinkel, is characterised by sustainability, daylight and flexibility. The building has ultra-sustainable installations. It is a building that literally and figuratively gives energy, and as a result inspires, delights and promotes productivity – precisely the kind of intelligent building that Paul de Ruiter Architects enjoys working on.

RENOVATION Paul de Ruiter Architects’ first sustainable decision was to renovate an existing building. The walls and the roof of the former steel workshop that stood on this site have been retained as the basis for the new office building. The old brick office that stood in front of the shed has been replaced, however, by a façade made entirely out of glass, allowing ample daylight insolation in the workplaces and a view of the green spaces and the water. The existing garret window was considerably enlarged, so that daylight can penetrate the complex via an atrium in the centre of the building and the building can make use of a natural, balanced climate system. In order to create a large number of workspaces, the high, open space has presently been divided into two storeys. Recycled materials were used during the renovation and the furniture too has been recycled, entirely in keeping with the C2C principle. Via these measures an old shed has been transformed into a modern, sustainable and healthy building.

INNOVATION The exterior of the new office building on Valschermkade is extremely innovative, for the most part thanks to the adjustable façade, which serves as a sunshade during the day and as an anti-burglary screen at night. The adjustable façade, which was developed in-house by Paul de Ruiter Architects, consists of aluminium sheets that have been perforated so that they retain an open character when closed. When the shutters are opened, either as a result of a pre-programmed action or manually, they rise like a canopy above the glass façade. When the shutters are closed, the bottoms fall into a lock. The sunshade consequently serves a dual purpose, both acting as a screen for the building against excessive heat from the sun and protecting it from burglars at night.

SUSTAINABILITY The atrium in the building’s centre and the full glass façade ensure that sufficient sunlight penetrates the building throughout. This way every workplace can be lit using natural lighting. The atrium and the façade have a second important function, however: they make natural ventilation of the building possible. As a result the Valschermkade building has a balanced climate system, ensuring that the indoor areas have a constant and comfortable working climate. In addition the natural supply ensured via this system allows for energy savings.

Energy is also saved in the building’s heating and cooling system. The entire building features floor heating, which is linked to the underground geothermal storage system. This system, located some 105 m below the surface, stores cold in the winter, which is used in the summer to cool the floors. The heat that is transferred out of the building in the summer is also stored in the soil, at a depth of 70 m, and transferred back into the building in the winter months by means of heat pumps. As a result of this system, the office has a comfortable work climate in all seasons, without extra energy costs.

DAYLIGHT The presence of daylight in a work area is not only of vital importance to users’ experience of this area, but also to their health. Daylight gives people energy, cheers them up and promotes productivity. Just like a pleasant, quiet and natural environment that inspires the user does. For this reason, the atrium will be planted with as much greenery as possible. But the glass façade and the atrium not only have a pronounced aesthetic value, they also allow ample quantities of daylight to penetrate the building. The lack of drop ceilings contributes to this effect. And the substantial and deep insolation of daylight means that less artificial lighting is required, meaning further savings in this area.

INTERACTION The redevelopment of the Valschermkade building focused across the board on achieving optimum interaction and flexibility. As a former industrial site, the Schinkel business site, located just behind the Olympic Stadium and the Zuidas, is characterised by its rapid development into a hotspot for the creative industry, accommodating numerous established firms from the architectural, advertising, film and television sectors. The creation of a collective business location for such firms allows the different users to benefit from each other’s inspiration and creativity. The open spaces and the atrium stimulate encounters. Furthermore, the work area on both floors allows for flexible arrangement. Users can opt for an office garden, smaller studios or a combination of both. Each user can structure its section of the building according to its own wishes and requirements. This way, the building will remain able to adapt to new developments in the years ahead.

GREEN MACHINE The whole building exudes sustainability, and to further emphasise this fact, a special area has been created on the ground floor where the users and the visitors can see for themselves how the building works. The source of the installations in the building is presented like a museum exhibit. Here, everyone can see what happens exactly in the building to create a pleasant work climate throughout the complex, using sustainable and energy-efficient methods. This is the green heart of the building.


Project Valschermkade, Amsterdam Address Valschermkade 36D, Amsterdam Gross Floor area 970 m2 Programme sustainable multi-business building Start design 2007 Start construction 2008 Delivery 2009

Design team

Client Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter, Lemming Film User Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter, Lemming Film Design Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter bv Project architect Paul de Ruiter Project team Willem Jan Landman, Nicolle Flagiello

Building team

Adv. installations Stauffer Technical Consultancy Adv. constructions Broersma, Ingenieursbureau voor beton- en staalconstructies Adv. building cost Bouwhaven Consultants bv Contractor Bouwbedrijf M.J. de Nijs en Zonen bv W-Installator ETB Vos bv E-Installator Interdaad Installbouw Adv. lights Ansorg bv

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