Amsterdam has a serious space shortage and is looking for business locations that can be redeveloped into housing. One such location is the Spaklerweg in Amstel, where Liander has been housed for more than 100 years.
After a joint search, the city and network operator have found a suitable plot for a new building in the Sloterdijk 3 port area. The new regional offices on the Noordzeeweg in Amsterdam Westpoort, designed by De Zwarte Hond, are circular and flexible with a timber construction. The ensemble consists of an office building, workshops, warehouses, test facilities, an educational- and parking building (total 21.000 sqm), for 700 employees. Liander Westpoort, as the location will be called, will offer space for offices, training facilities, workshops, storage and test areas.
De Zwarte Hond has translated the functional requirements and aspirations for the new location into an extremely resilient design. The buildings and interspaces are positioned with rhythmic alternations on the plot like a barcode, with the office building as a height accent, visible from the A5.
All parts of the programme got equal attention. Work buildings and storage areas have been designed with the same care as the office building and together they form a robust ensemble. Additionally, a biodiverse landscape plan is inviting to people and animals. Rich planting around and on the buildings (30% of the facade is green) provides a habitat for insects, birds, amphibians and small mammals. Rainwater is stored locally on-site and used for watering plants.
Together with client Alliander, IMd, Copper8 and DGMR, De Zwarte Hond formulated the sustainability ambitions resulting in high flexibility, scalability and modularity. Sustainable materials, such as wood, were used as much as possible, and harmful substances like glue, PU foam or sealant were avoided.
The building is gas-free and energy-neutral thanks to 3.435 sqm of solar panels and thermal energy storage. The facades are made of weather-resistant Corten steel. This makes the regional office resilient for the future. Since the construction is primarily made of timber, 560 tonnes of CO2 have been stored. In addition, much attention was paid to cost reduction and the reuse of materials, contributing to a circular economy.
The design of Liander Westpoort primarily revolves around the concepts of flexibility, scalability and modularity.
The office building and training facilities have an all-timber construction, designed to be flexible and create a healthy working environment. Additionally, the parking garage can grow or shrink thanks to a demountable construction design. The facades are made of weather-resistant Corten steel, which makes the regional office resilient for the future.
Inside the office building, its interior with a large atrium and wooden central staircases creates an environment that encourages meetings and interactions. A unique 'wandering staircase' connects each floor in a different place and provides an exciting route through the office.
The landscape plan for the space on and around the buildings ought to be inviting for humans and animals. The rich vegetation which surrounds the building provides a habitat for insects, birds, amphibians and small mammals. Rainwater is also stored on site and used for watering the vegetation. Therefore, with this design, Alliander also contributes to a climate-adaptive and nature-inclusive environment.
“After more than 100 years on the Spaklerweg, Alliander (and partners) have developed a new, beautiful, and sustainable building to host the next century of cooperations. Transparency and sustainability are key here, as we want to show our surroundings and relations how we are working on energy transitions at the location of Westpoort, where our technical colleagues are also trained. This is going to help us in further achieve our work as a grid operator.” - Alliander CFO Walter Bien
De Zwarte Hond is a design agency for architecture, urban design, and strategy, with offices in Groningen, Rotterdam, and Cologne. Through a combination of social commitment and craftsmanship, the firm creates high-quality projects that are sensitive to their context, the needs of users, and the vision of the customer.