Since November 2018, Novamedia and the Dutch Charity Lotteries have been working in the most sustainably “renovated” building in the Netherlands in Amsterdam. What makes this office so special?
Since the founding of the Dutch Postcode Lottery in 1989, the employees of Novamedia and the lotteries had been spread over various premises near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. The company outgrew its premises and the desire to work together under one roof became ever greater.
Novamedia was looking for an existing building to renovate as sustainably as possible. The company wanted to meet the highest standards in order to set an example. It started looking for a new location and ended up in Amsterdam-Zuid, where a building on the Beethovenstraat, built in 1972, had been vacant for years. Situated easily reachable by public transport.
In November 2018 Novamedia accomplished its mission with the opening of one of the most sustainably renovated properties in the country: Beethovenstraat 200. Roel Eleveld, who is responsible for the building, explains what makes the office so special.
1. The old building
Roel Eleveld: “People in the neighbourhood called this concrete colossus the orphan of the Zuidas district. It had been vacant since the property crisis in 2008 and nobody saw a future in it. We did. We were able to acquire the property with the proceeds from the sale of our old office premises at the popular Vondelpark, supplemented with our own funds and a mortgage.”
“The building was constructed in a square shape; the courtyard had room for fifty cars. We wanted to cover this courtyard to create a central space. The outer walls remained in place and the concrete façade panels were later reused in the new building.”
2. A shared dream
“We asked our colleagues to share their ideas from day one, because we wanted everyone to feel involved and at home. In the end, 125 people came up with ideas, most of which were applied in the design produced by Benthem Crouwel architects. Although the architects were occasionally driven mad by our obstinate colleagues, they also recognised the value of this joint process. We have achieved our dreams together.”
3. The exterior
“The canopy is supported by three pillars in the shape of trees, designed by the architect. They symbolise the park, where we used to be housed. The unique roof consists of 6,800 aluminium ‘leaves’ that filter the sunlight and give a beautiful play of light that changes all the time with the position of the sun. The roof also ensures that it never gets too hot in the courtyard.”
4. The central square
“The square with the tree is the centrepiece. We wanted a lively meeting place, where you could come for a chat and sit for a while. And that’s how it has been used from day one. The pleasant light, the bistro tables and the coffee bar make it inviting. The acoustics are good – you can’t hear what’s happening on the square when you’re working at your desk.”
“You can look around the square from verandas and balconies - the panels look like façades, designed by our own staff. Originally, the idea was to build a slide, but we didn’t think that was a good plan. Then the interior designers D/Dock came up with the idea of creating a showbiz staircase that circles every floor. That was a great idea!”
5. The TV studio
“Two ‘boxes’ were placed on the building: the TV studio on the east side and the auditorium on the north side. The Charity Lotteries broadcast live national TV programmes there twice a day from Monday to Friday. We wanted to produce these programmes on our premises in order to involve the makers more in the lotteries and charities. And it works – we get a lot of guests and we can easily interact with our ambassadors. They really feel at home now.”
6. The auditorium
“Our employees had wanted an auditorium of our own for a long time. It seats 200 people. We use it for meetings with our colleagues, for lectures, and for inspiration sessions. But we also make the auditorium available to charities and initiatives in the neighbourhood. We’re happy to share our building with others.”
7. The roof garden
“The roof garden is a meeting place in the open air, where colleagues meet or have a cup of coffee together. There are nesting boxes for birds, a worm hotel where compost is made, and our beehives and native plants attract insects, which are good for biodiversity. There are 952 solar panels on the roof, making the building energy-neutral. We also collect rainwater, with which we water the roof garden.”
8. Water management
“Here you’re looking at the forecourt of our building. Under these stairs there’s a reservoir for collecting rainwater. We don’t just use the water for our roof garden, but also for flushing the toilets and for the sprinkler system. We supply a third of the water we use ourselves.”
“In 2018, we were voted the most sustainably renovated building in the Netherlands and are the proud holder of the BREEAM-NL Outstanding certificate, the highest achievable quality mark for sustainable construction. We scored outstanding on categories such as energy, transport and waste. But it was our innovative roof with water collection, light filtering and solar panels that really helped us achieve this ‘outstanding’ status.”
9. The restaurant
“As I said, we would like to share our building. Our La Lotteria restaurant is open to the public – an Italian Osteria with a beautiful terrace. The lotteries themselves make a lot of use of it, but it also has a real neighbourhood function. It’s an inexpensive restaurant that everyone can use. The neighbourhood lacked a restaurant, so our neighbours are very happy with it.”
10. The opening
“In the end, it took more than two years to renovate the building. Her Majesty Queen Máxima opened the building on 6 December 2018, and was given a guided tour by our CEO Sigrid van Aachen. We were very honoured that the Queen came. She loved it.”