Architects Studioninedots have transformed an abandoned and anonymous office building into a vibrant multi-tenant complex with the De Burgemeester multi-tenant complex in Hoofddorp, Netherlands.
De Burgemeester is a commercial property in Hoofddorp that was renovated by Studioninedots and opened on November 5th, 2013. “The secret of the transformation?” says Studioninedots, “A vertical lobby featuring an open staircase where people meet face to face, a space that brings people together both literally and figuratively. We space. That’s our name for this communal area at the heart of the building. It’s a place that brings people together. Out of the concrete floors we carved a 14-metre-tall void that houses a giant staircase that cuts diagonal lines through the void as it makes its way upwards, linking the different floors to one another.”
“Now people are on the move, making their way back and forth on the timber steps. Some of them linger for a chat, and there’s space on the broad treads to sit for a moment. The sound of chatter and the aroma of coffee from the café below now fill the hall. Most of the office space has already been leased, bringing the building back to life once again.”
The De Burgemeester building was part of a ‘cloud’ of blue foam models on show in the Dutch pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale. In an exhibition entitled ‘Vacant NL’, the pavilion housed a vast model that depicted all the unoccupied buildings in the Netherlands. “The exhibition proved confrontational for the way it captured the sheer scale of empty space and rendered it visible at a glance, and for the conclusion expressed: the era of growth is finished, and scarcely anything more needs to be built.”
“At the same time, that sea of blue also contained a promise. Vacant NL posed a creative challenge to architects: discover the potential of these buildings; adapt them for our era of economic stagnation and population decline; transform them, temporary or otherwise, into flexible and sustainable structures; to ensure a new appreciation of these buildings.”
The Ymere housing association granted the De Burgemeester building a new life as an office complex and in 2012 asked Studioninedots to draw up a proposal. The persistent economic crisis thwarted that ambition; it turned out to be unfeasible for a single client to occupy the entire building.
“That’s the reason it was decided to team up with an investor called Lingotto and turn the building into a multi-tenant complex. Since office space with all sorts of extra amenities was no longer a realistic option with a lower budget, we completely changed our original proposal. Workspaces are fitted out without any frills so that we could channel more resources into one spectacular, shared amenity that boosts the whole building. The sculptural staircase, a social space where people can meet, a place that connects people to one another both literally and figuratively. The staircase as a tool for communication, lends the building a collective identity. As a vertical lobby that offers views of all floors, it tells occupants that they are part of a larger world. And precisely that feeling is the major quality of the renovated building.”
Project: De Burgemeester, Hoofddorp
Client: Ymere | Lingotto
Type: re-use of 4700m2 officespace
Location: Burgemeester Pabslaan, Hoofddorp
Plot: 980 m2
Designteam: Albert Herder, Vincent van der Klei, Arie van der Neut, Metin van Zijl.
Projectteam: Max Meijer, Eliano Felício, Chun Leung.
Contractor: Ouwehand Bouw
Realization stairs and fences: Fiction factory
Photography: Peter Cuypers