Targeted improvements transform an office building into a modern living environment
The transformation of an outdated office building into a new residential complex is no easy task. Nonetheless, D&M architects applied a simple but golden rule when asked to convert an office building on Wattbaan in Nieuwegein: ‘respect the existing building’. So the existing backbone remained intact. The final result looks new, fresh and stylish, due in no small measure to the use of Trespa® Meteon® Lumen façade panels.
The location was familiar territory for property developer ArthurArmstrong and D&M architecten. After all, the two partners had already completed two other office building conversions on adjoining plots. These and other projects are part of a major area redevelopment plan. Jurrien de Mik of D&M architecten comments: “The idea is to transform the entire area into a new suburban dormitory zone. Consequently, the transformation not only targets the buildings themselves, it also includes changes to the layout of the outdoor areas.” The transformation project will ultimately result in about 2,000 new homes. The entire district will also be given a new name, Rijnhuizen, a reference to the castle of the same name that is also located there.
“The landscaping aspects proved to be immensely challenging”, De Mik adds. “A business park and a residential area are completely different from an environmental perspective; you need far more greenery in the latter case. That can clash with the hard surfacing in office environments, a consequence of the overriding need for parking spaces."
The building located at 31 Wattbaan started life as an office complex in 1984. D&M architecten have turned it into a 96-unit apartment block. Harm Mensink, General Manager of ArthurArmstrong: “Our challenge was to transform the building into living space as effectively as possible within the existing architectural framework and legislative and regulatory envelope. The aim was to reuse the existing structures as much as possible.”
The building’s energy efficiency was also an area of strong focus. The final result had to meet new building requirements, even though the project involved converting an existing building. The extremely high sustainability goal for the building resulted in a target energy index of no more than 0.6. “By most definitions, this is a new building, just created around an existing structure”, says De Mik.
As few changes as possible
The flexibly designed office building consisted of two concrete wings, with a steel-framed atrium between them. D&M architecten has made few changes to that basic structure. This is because De Mik always applies one simple, golden rule in transformation projects: preserve the building as far as possible. “A successful transformation project is one that requires a minimum of structural modifications”, says the architect. “In line with that principle, we have kept the existing structure almost completely intact and added high-quality elements to improve it. Although we preserved the building’s backbone, we did demolish the dated eighties façade. That was one area where we decided to start from scratch.”
The façade finish was a topic of some debate. The initial plan was to use a textured render on the façade, but because this finish would be sensitive to damage and require regular maintenance, D&M architecten abandoned this idea. Trespa® Meteon® Lumen ticked all the boxes. “Our choice of dark Trespa® Meteon® Lumen panels has created a fantastic residential look & feel”, says De Mik.
Façades that really stand out
Trespa® Meteon® Lumen is based on decades of market and technological leadership in façade solutions and is the logical next step in the development of Trespa® Meteon®. These façade panels are available in three variations and eight colours. This product range allows designers to manipulate light creatively and introduce it as a design element. Light can be reflected, refracted, strengthened or weakened depending on the effect architects and project developers want to achieve. The result? Façades that really stand out. Thanks to Trespa® Meteon® Lumen, architects can add movement, depth, colour and playfulness to buildings.
Xavier Rousseau, Global Market Manager Meteon at Trespa: “Trespa® Meteon® façade panels are incredibly durable thanks to the use of electron beam curing, a patented technology that Trespa continues to refine. They add tremendous visual value and enhance the building’s meaning for its occupants.”
Impressive, maintenance-friendly façade
Jurrien De Mik hardly hesitated when this innovative façade material was presented to him: “Trespa® Meteon® Lumen gave us the capability of designing a low-maintenance façade that was also aesthetically pleasing. The panels were placed over the industrial façade like a stylish coat.”
Trespa® Meteon® Lumen's ease of maintenance is one of its main trump cards. Remon Bakker, Regional Sales Manager at Trespa, explains: “The unique top layer creates a very durable surface and is also really easy to maintain. In most cases, a wash with water and some soap, if required, makes the panel look like new again. The feedback we receive from architects and designers is unanimously positive.”
As well as offering low maintenance, Trespa® Meteon® is a sustainable product. This clearly benefits the residents and the developer, furthermore, architects also find sustainability a very persuasive argument. “As a professional sector, architects oversee the use of millions of tons of materials. So we have a duty to avoid unnecessary demolition, to reuse existing buildings whenever possible, and carefully select all the new materials. We always base our choices on sustainable usage and durability in the long term. Trespa® Meteon® meets those requirements.”
Obviously, architects are also enthusiastic about the extensive creative possibilities offered by the material in terms of colours, patterns and finishes. As a result, Trespa® Meteon® allows the architect to completely transform an existing building and give it a new and unique signature.
Panels with a range of gloss finishes were selected for this project. De Mik: “We designed the façade layout with great care. The speckled, less glossy panels are mounted at the bottom, with the odd high-gloss panel in between. As you progress towards the top of the building, you see more and more glossy panels and increasing reflection. That is a conscious choice. The idea is to prevent glare at ground level, while creating an intriguing reflective effect when you look upwards. That playful pattern gives the building a changing visual identity when you look at it from different angles. The result is impressively high-end.”
Remon Bakker also feels that the visual qualities of Trespa® Meteon® Lumen have been optimally used in this project: “The three different levels of gloss make it possible to play with light. The matt finish is almost non-reflective and has a slightly softer texture. The Oblique and Specular finishes lead to intensive interaction with the surroundings and give the façade a lively and dynamic appearance. The appearance of the façade changes with the weather and in every season.”
Façade specialist VM Geveltechniek carried out the work. “This was an interesting project for us, and stands out particularly for its novel use of finish and colour”, says Roel van Vliet, general manager of VM Geveltechniek. “Trespa® Meteon® Lumen was an excellent choice for this project as it gives the façade a truly luxurious appearance.”
Investment in materials
Trespa does everything possible to build a close relationship with its customers. In Trespa's view, that relationship involves much more than simply selling products, says Rousseau: “Customers don’t just buy Trespa’s materials, they ‘invest’ in them. They get a great design, value for money, simplicity and consistency in return. Our job is to offer our customers the service they require and help them achieve their objectives. They know that we are always prepared to go the extra mile on their behalf.”
“We are strongly committed to close relationships because they create trust and assurance”, Rousseau adds. “Architects, developers, contractors and distributors all want to be certain that they are doing business with a company that stands for something worthwhile, that is passionate about what it does and strives for excellence. ”
Quality and diversity
All the parties agree that the final result is a feast for the eyes. “The building speaks for itself. Little needs to be added. Trespa® Meteon® Lumen excels in quality and variety”, says Mensink. “The collaboration with Trespa was also a great experience and we were very impressed by the skilled employees of the contractor that installed the panels.”
De Mik shares his enthusiasm. “Trespa® Meteon® Lumen has met everyone’s expectations. We were looking for a façade product that would be easy to keep clean and also offer low maintenance costs in the future. Trespa® Meteon® Lumen satisfies this brief. Trespa® Meteon® Lumen is an excellent, sustainable, highly durable and easily maintained product that allows you to keep the appearance of the building intact. The result is a high-end appearance that adds value to the building.”