Nova Zembla

There was a desire to create a tower with 10.000m2 office space on what was a very tight spot. This would mark the entry to the city of Utrecht from the Europabaan. In order to achieve the proportions of a tower the idea of putting the parking garage above ground level was investigated. This would rise the building over the height of the ajoining highway as far as possible. At street level the entrance and some associated spaces had been realised, with the garage above and on top of that the office space. The programme for the site was reduced and this gave us the opportunity to create the parking garage in a spiral, providing the most compact floor plan for a parking garage. This also retained the idea of the tower, which interconnected differing programmes in the building. The round central shaft, around which the floor of the garage circles, is the spine of the building. The stack of the spiral garage and block-shaped office, connected with the central shaft make for a remarkable sculpted structure. An important benefit of this lay-out is that the lowest office floor is at such a height that the users are able to look out over the embankment of the highway. It also gives some distance from the busy traffic junction in front of the office. The square office part of the building is intersected diagonally by a transparent zone, housing the staircases allowing a view of the horizon from the central zones. The vertical windows, reaching almost to the floor, have the same function. They also emphasize the vertical appearance of the building. To make the building visible as a landmark at night, a subtle light plan (developed by Hollands Licht) emphasises the architectonic interplay between the different volumes.


Client: Oranje Nassau Vastgoed, Amsterdam Project team: Maarten Sanders, Joeri Apontoweil, Peter van de Merwe en Martin Vinkesteijn Completion: 2001 Photography: Jan Bartelsman Categorie: werken