The 2,600 m2 of new offices for the housing cooperative Bergopwaarts were completed December 2010. VAN AKEN produced the design for both the building and the interior. Intelligent solutions for the task were found which matched the philosophy of sustainability maintained by Bergopwaarts and helped with the creation of a congenial working environment.
The most striking part of the solution is the shape of the building, a rounded triangle. The triangular plot is ideally suited to such a solution. What’s more the shape plays an important role in efficient energy management. Because of the advantageous ratio of floor to wall surface the amount of heat loss caused by evaporation is kept to a minimum.
A shrewd positioning of the various spaces in the building and an intelligent positioning of the windows has created a benevolent indoor climate and limits the requirement for traditional heating and air conditioning systems. Also the use of artificial lighting is kept to a minimum. The work spaces are positioned on the north side of the building resulting in a steady spread of daylight.
Use of sun blinds on the south, west and east sides limits any excessive warming of the building. The sun blind is made of glass lamellae in a sequence of ten. It is an adjustable system that, depending upon the height of the sun, controls the lamella in order to prevent too much solar radiation. In the floors concrete core activation is used for both heating and cooling of the building. In that way it was possible to create a lower floor-level so that less volume needed to be heated or cooled.
The materials used have been chosen with a minimum environmental footprint. Use is made of preserved wood, bricks and glass. The office is not only “green” because of all the sustainable measures. The facades have been constructed from green enamelled bricks.
An optimal use of daylight helps afford a congenial working environment. The building therefore has an atrium with a skylight with alternate glass and opaque sections. The opaque sections were situated on the south side, the transparent ones on the north. This ensures an optimum of daylight without the risk of a building that gets uncomfortably hot. The white internal facades foster reflection so that even deeper located work spaces receive sufficient daylight.
The interior radiates a homely atmosphere. This in turn means that the building is very accessible for customers of the cooperative. Glass interior walls add to the transparent atmosphere and encourage the employees to communicate with each other. In addition they are, just as the steel system walls, detachable. They can be placed elsewhere or reused without any danger of damage. While developing the lighting plan much attention is paid to energy saving. Various variants were considered. Finally the choice was made for high frequency fluorescent lighting fixtures with open mirrors. Also the furniture is made from sustainable materials, there is bamboo parquet and recycled carpets. This carpet is coloured green, a wink to the exterior facade.