PART 1. Enexis regional offices: in search of an intelligent facade

High ambitions for three new regional Enexis offices
With the development and realization of three new regional offices in Zwolle, Venlo and Maastricht, all designed by atelier PRO, Enexis is entering a new era as a transmission system operator. The aim was focussed on energy-neutral new build, within which much attention was given to the well-being of employees and the environment. The gained sustainability level has been made verifiable, and as part of it, Enexis’ regional office in Maastricht has been awarded the first energy-neutral BREEAM Excellent certification in the Netherlands.

An overall concept for three buildings
The overall concept, with which atelier PRO eventually won the tender, provided an integral solution for the first two sites in Maastricht and Venlo, but also the possibility to develop an optimal variant for future business locations.

Special modular facade
The most striking element is presented by the modular created facade. All three buildings are related to each other concerning use of materials, construction and detailing. To make sure this would work out efficiently, a modular facade system has been chosen with which a large extent of individuality nevertheless would be possible. With a relatively new technology, the composite material elements of the facade can be manufactured, using a very limited number of templates. These elements have a light weight and high Resistance-Capacitance value, and need very little material.

Prefabricated elements for a phased work progress
By executing the buildings in a phased work progress, the facade elements can be rapidly installed on the modular construction system that also can be disassembled. In this way, the whole facade can be made windproof and waterproof within only a few weeks, and subsequently the finishing of the interior can be started. The production takes place in a controlled environment, which guarantees a high quality; the elements arrive at the construction site completely finished. Due to the possibility of distortion during transport and assembling, the frames are fitted afterwards.

Very well insulated, intelligent facade
For this project, atelier PRO in particular wanted to investigate how an intelligent facade can be made without using moving parts that can be expensive and technically vulnerable. By placing the frames in the facade surface in a too slanting way, direct incident of sunlight has been limited and a self shading facade has been created. Thus, the well insulated building warms up less without the use of fixed sun protection.

Abstract manifestation
Often, visual art has been a major source of inspiration in architecture, whereas in the case of the regional Enexis offices it is more than obvious. In its manifestation, each of the offices almost have become an abstract work of art, nearly completely stripped of any materiality. The shadow and light effects in the abstract works of Delft artist  Jan Schoonhoven, form a key source of inspiration for the facade.

Read also the blogs part 2 and part 3.

More project information regional offices Venlo, Maastricht and Zwolle.