Fellenoord 15 Renovation / UNStudio
Text description provided by the architects. In recent years, the negative environmental impact of the construction industry has significantly changed how we view the demolition of existing buildings in favor of new builds. Renovating or redeveloping existing building stock and extending the life span of our buildings now favors a more sustainable solution, while also ensuring the retention of inherent historical or local significance.
In the case of Fellenoord 15, the existing building previously stood as a difficult-to-access bastion within the city and could no longer accommodate a changing and expanding workforce; the interior was disconnected and fragmented, with the result that colleagues had to work in isolation from one another.
However, Fellenoord 15 had a robust shell, which meant the structure could be retained, rather than demolished. This decision aims to save about 40% of the CO2 footprint compared to a new build. Sustainable techniques were also employed in the demolition of the former facade, setting the foundation for genuinely sustainable development.
The design achieved a BREEAM-Excellent sustainability rating. The transformed building makes use of geothermal heating and cooling, water-based climate ceilings and solar panels, and natural materials such as stone. As with many of UNStudio’s designs, the floor plans are optimized to maximize views and daylight, positively impacting the building’s energy balance and the comfort and productivity of its occupants. In addition, the choice of plant species in the landscape design, alongside the addition of insect hotels, bat boxes, and nesting boxes, supports local biodiversity.
Tech-enabled. Benefiting from the expertise of Edge, the building is equipped with a variety of smart technologies. The use of location sensors and intelligent data infrastructure provides insight into the behavior of the users, which contributes to the reduction of energy consumption and improves the efficient use of space. By tracking energy usage patterns, identifying inefficiencies, and making real-time adjustments, these sensors help create more sustainable and comfortable workplaces that also control individual work environments. The result is a new, flexible office building designed to adapt to employees’ current – and future needs.
Public Activation. UNStudio’s design activates the public space by revamping the former Rabobank building into an open-facing building that now enjoys a strong relationship with its surroundings.
By designing a new entrance and removing a parking lot on the side of the building facing the station, Fellenoord 15 now connects more seamlessly with the surrounding urban fabric. Subtle articulations to the masses at various strategic positions further open the building up to its surroundings.
From a distance, the building has an unassuming appearance that is enhanced by large details such as voids, windows, roof articulation, and a clearly recognizable entrance. In the immediate vicinity, the building’s perforations become visible, and a subtle tactility and layering is created by the expanded mesh cladding. These design elements contribute to a subtle moiré effect in the plinth due to the double layer of expanded metal mesh.
The new entrance to the building connects the street to the atrium via a large, semi-public staircase. The existing fragmented building masses are seamlessly joined in the new design through a continuous landscape of flexible office floors, connecting the previously separated spaces.
The new office floors are designed based on the idea of a gradient of activity: the central heart of the interior bustles with activity, while quiet workplaces are located alongside the facades on all floors, creating an ideal workplace for a wide variety of employees’ needs .