In the coming years, the 3.5-hectare Lucent site in Hilversum will be transformed into a vibrant new mixed-use residential/commercial development. Centrally located close to the train station and city centre, the area is appealing for living and working.
The heritage of the site is characterised by industrial manufacture. Both the Ripolin paint factory (early twentieth century) and Dutch Seintoestellen Fabriek (1920s) occupied this site. Later, the factories were replaced by offices and adjacent residential neighbourhoods developed. In the 1980s, the site was acquired for the expansion of Philips/ Alcatel-Lucent. From the five existing office buildings – some currently leased as offices – three will be demolished, one will be converted into apartments and the other will house the headquarters of housing organization de Alliantie.
De Alliantie needed a new headquarters to unite its various regional offices to become more efficient and customer-friendly. Being in good condition the four-storey office building was retained, however, renovations were required for its new function. Prominently located on the corner of the site, it needed a more public face fronting the shopping centre and city. Office floors receive sufficient daylight on the perimeter but are too dark in the middle due to the 22-metre-deep floor plates. Additionally, de Alliantie wanted the design to express the new shared identity of the office.
The design focuses on the lobby as a clear, strong response to this brief. Here, a new atrium becomes the vibrant heart of the building that increases daylight and air into the deep building, improves quality of space and offers opportunities for interaction.
The main intervention removes wall and floor in-fills between the concrete frame at the centre of the building. This opens up a spacious four-storey atrium that becomes the new social core around which shared functions are organized – these are indicated by the walls that are programmed with specific functions. On each floor, the atrium footprint and facade cutout zigzags differently between the concrete frame and fixed service cores. This results in a dynamic atrium with overhanging balconies, walkways, vistas and voids, which is complemented by the interplay between open and closed sections of the exposed concrete structure. The oversized mosaic flooring accentuates this liveliness further.
Framed internal openings invite views between the offices and atrium and new open facade sections bring plentiful daylight into the building. These cutouts zigzag along the concrete frame and offer glimpses into the company’s inner domain, especially striking when illuminated by night. Front and back entrances facilitate a new diagonal route through the building. The whole facade will be painted black. With this new transparency and connectivity together with planned ground floor hospitality venues, the building gains a clear public presence.
For de Alliantie, consolidating its regional offices enables staff to work together, for the first time, under one roof. To stimulate face-to-face interactions, social spaces are prioritized in the design. These are concentrated in and around the atrium, where the surrounding walls incorporate a specific function for a shared space. Crafted in plywood, the warm walls contrast strikingly with the raw concrete. On each atrium floor, colleagues can chat over coffee at the pantry equipped with a kitchenette and bar stools.
Informal lounges with information walls occupy ground floor and second floor. The first floor library with high bookshelves and a reading table overlooks the forecourt and a display wall on the fourth floor exhibits unusual objects discarded by tenants. Acoustics walls and green walls are placed throughout the atrium. Timber pavillions on all workspace floors offer additional informal meeting spaces. By programming the atrium, and the walls, it gains a valuable social function beyond being a purely visual space.
For a company consolidating its offices for the first time, the move brings a new opportunity to review its values and identity: the building plays an important role here. Through literally opening up the office, this establishes visual transparency to create a feeling of connectivity, which greatly benefits the development of (inter)personal relationships. By physically sharing social spaces, staff from the various regional offices not only interact with each other socially and professionally, but also contribute to the new shared identity of the headquarters and company.
Design team: Studioninedots [Albert Herder, Vincent van der Klei, Arie van der Neut, Metin van Zijl]
Project team: Stijn de Jongh, Jurjen van der Horst, Coen Smit
3D Visualizations: Zesxzes Visuele Communicatie
Contractor: Van Wijnen
Client: de Alliantie
Type: Re-use of 7940m2 BVO, officespace
Plot: 1439 m2
Design completion: 2014-2015
Status: Design development
Photographer: Studioninedots and Zesxzes Visuele Communicatie