In 2015 we won the competition for the design of a new office building for the communal yards of the city of Amsterdam. A building where the city workers, who maintain the parks, streets, street lighting and sidewalks, are based.

We set the goal to design a building without an ‘ecological footprint’. A circular building that does not rely on finite resources of mother earth. Of course this is an almost impossible task. Nobody really knows how to do this to its full extend. This fact gave us space to experiment. To re-view the contemporary logic of building and to come up with an alternative in design and construction.

Because how can we build a communal yard without using finite materials?

To begin with, the building uses no energy. It makes enough energy to run itself. With the power of the sun, and heat and cold from the earth. This is no longer a technical challenge. Every new building should operate in this way.
We use recycled materials that are assembled, but also can be disassembled. Such as recycled steel beams. They are not welded, but bolted. Most of the building can be taken apart in all the separate parts that have been used to make it.
The facade is designed with stones that are already on the location. At the yards we found stacks of stones as far as the eye can reach. Different colors, different sizes. Remnants of projects, enough to build an entire building. These leftover stones are now the face of the building.

We kept asking our self the question: what makes a building really sustainable? The most important is that people like to live and work in it. Because the building will not be demolished after a few years. The most sustainable buildings stay forever. So we took special care in designing pleasant working spaces. We made sure that the building can be transformed easily, for example into apartments. Therefore we designed it with extra high ceilings.

Facts & Figures

Client: Municipality of Amsterdam
Design team: Peter van Assche, Monique Philippo, Wouter Bak and Amber Beernink
Design: 2015 – 2018
Expected completion: 2019