Amsterdam’s Zuidas area is rapidly emerging as one of Europe’s most significant business districts, with excellent connections to public transport and cycle-route networks and the new high-speed train station.
Situated in this prime location is The Edge – a highly efficient office building conceived by London-based PLP Architecture, in close collaboration with Deloitte and project developer OVG.
The 15-storey building is a completely connected, eco-friendly hub, where workers control everything from finding a parking space to meeting their colleague via an intelligent app.
The work space is organised around a grand 15-storey atrium, a window animated by office activity, circulation bridges and lift cores. The base of the atrium is activated by a restaurant, a cafe, exhibition spaces and conference facilities. The atrium is the lung of the building, ventilating the office space. The shape of the building allows north light into 60% of the offices. East, west and south walls have smaller openings in a dense load-bearing structure; on the south, photovoltaic cells shade the openings.
The building is powered by solar panels that produce more electricity than the project uses – in fact, The Edge uses 70% less electricity than a typical office building. The building also uses water sustainably, utilising recycled rainwater to flush the toilets and water the building’s plants. In the summer, warm water is pumped to an aquifer underneath the structure where it is insulated and re-used to heat the building in the winter months.
Dutch-born architect Ron Bakker is a founding partner at London-based PLP Architecture, the team that conceived The Edge. Currently used by accountancy firm Deloitte as their Amsterdam office, in 2014 it was rated “Outstanding” by the environmental sustainability assessment agency BREEAM – the highest rating ever.
He comments: “With The Edge, we tried to unite different aspects of the office environment by integrating technology with sustainability in a way that redefines the concept of the workplace. We looked at different strategies, like phasing and multi-purpose functionality, and also read up on studies about how we could balance sustainability with cost efficiency, which helped us discover that there were better ways to build the structure.
Ron adds: “The Edge is a market office building and Deloitte occupy six or seven levels while the rest shared by a variety of other companies.”
In 2014, the environmental assessment agency, BREEAM, awarded The Edge with the highest score ever, thus making it the most sustainable office building in the world. Ron explains how this was achieved: “When the recession hit it became harder to take the risks involved with developing a large project. However, we carried on, and researched how we could make it work. We looked at different strategies, like phasing and multi-purpose functionality, and also read up on studies about how we could balance sustainability with cost efficiency, which helped us discover that there were better ways to build the structure.”
Ron continues: “BREEAM looks at every tiny aspect relating to sustainability, so it’s easy to lose your way by trying to score as many points as possible. That said, Deloitte and OVG weren’t interested in point scoring. They wanted a sustainable building for the sake of sustainability, which is why the building was conceived like that even before we discussed accreditation. OVG and Deloitte set targets high, which made us realise our potential.”
Due to their inherent eco-friendly properties, GROHE’s Blue and Red kitchen taps and Europlus E basin mixers were chosen to feature in The Edge. With GROHE’s commitment to sustainability, the brand – which is one of four nominees in “Germany’s most sustainable large corporations” of the 2015 German Sustainability Awards – was the perfect choice to supply products for the project.
Refreshments on tap
GROHE’s Blue and Red taps were the natural choices for this sustainable project. The Red tap keeps filtered kettle hot water ready for immediate use at all times, removing the need for a kettle and therefore saving energy and reducing water wastage. The Blue provides three types of filtered water – still, sparkling and semi-sparkling – straight from the tap, and is designed to save up to 86% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to bottled water. The public toilets are also equipped with GROHE’s sustainable Europlus E basin mixers which harness flowing water and turns it into electrical energy.
Graham Wilby, Head of Projects GROHE UK, comments: “We are delighted that GROHE’s products feature in The Edge, as the project mirrors our sustainable ethos. GROHE is committed to the efficient and economical use of resources, and is continually looking for innovative ways to reduce water and energy consumption without compromising on product performance.”