Office with a future
flexible and sustainable
Office building Forum, Amsterdam
Sited in Amsterdam-Zuid next door to the Rietveld Academy, the domicile of Loyens & Loeff, a firm of solicitors and notaries, has been designed as a flexibly subdivisible, energy-efficient lettable office. Two extra-broad, entirely column-free rows of offices (14.40 metre deep) lie to either side of a monumental atrium. Level with the glass head elevations of the atrium are two pavilion-like volumes, one heart-shaped on plan, the other square, where special representative functions can be accommodated. So as to be able to lease the building to more than one company should that ever prove necessary, all vertical circulation is concentrated in the four corners of the atrium.
The entrance and the basement parking structure are so designed that users and visitors arriving by car are spared the feeling of entering the building by the back door. Motorists drive in front of the building and access the parking basement at the side. From the basement they can see into the atrium through a strip of fenestration, and after parking they then emerge in the same 'split-level' entrance lobby with reception desk used by those entering at street level with a drop-off option.
With an eye to consuming as little energy as possible, the building is provided with energy-efficient glazing in combination with heat and cold storage underground. Half of the loadbearing outer walls consists of storey-height clear glass (a climate-modifying skin) and the other half of storey-height concrete elements clad on the exterior with clouded glass. Each opaque section of facade is equipped with a hand-operated ventilation hatch protected against wind and noise by the glass suspended in front of it. The head elevations of the rows of offices are finished in hand-hewn Turkish Cenia stone. The facades on the atrium side consist of full-height and full-width timber-framed sliding partitions (grid 2.40 metres) in combination with an informal access gallery cum window-cleaning balcony.