In 2009, PLP was commissioned to design The Edge, Deloitte’s offices located in Zuidas, Amsterdam’s business center. The project had a dual purpose: to consolidate Deloitte’s employees, who were previously scattered across multiple buildings in the city, into a single environment, and to create a “smart building” that would facilitate Deloitte’s transition into the digital age.
The design directly addressed these objectives. How does architecture play a role when the workplace is infused with layers of technology that fundamentally change how we interact with our surroundings? How can design enhance these virtual frameworks to create spaces that promote spontaneous socialization?
They proposed a building that showcases informal collaboration spaces and accommodates the diverse working atmospheres required by new work patterns—flexible, social, physically and digitally interconnected. The focal point of the design was the creation of a social condenser—a central nucleus for the building.
This nucleus took the form of an atrium with bridges and exposed lift cores, serving as nodes of horizontal and vertical activity. It brought together a range of social environments to cultivate a specific internal working culture. The atrium functioned as a grand theatrical device, visible from the surrounding offices arranged like an amphitheater. It also acted as a lens, broadcasting the multitude of social interactions as a civic spectacle to the city beyond.
The scale of the space and the atmosphere created by a subtle differentiation in materials and lighting make the atrium a natural gathering place. It is both lofty and calm, filled with a steady influx of north light filtered through the low-e glass of the atrium façade. As a continuous surface, this façade seamlessly blends into the roof, bringing the building to life. It not only acts as a window that reveals the daily activities to the outside but also frames the ever-changing surroundings within.
In The Edge, employees no longer have assigned desks, allowing them to work anywhere in the building with varying levels of introspection or sociability. There are work-booths, focus rooms, concentration rooms, sitting desks, standing desks, and even balcony desks, along with numerous workstations within the sun-filled atrium itself. The building adapts to the users’ preferences for lighting and heating through a mobile app, which also enables them to locate colleagues and find available desks. This combination of app and architecture supports activity-based working, empowering employees to actively choose the environment, mood, and atmosphere that best suit their tasks throughout the day.
While the concept of sustainability as a purely technological narrative has been overused, The Edge creates a truly innovative working environment enabled by sustainable technologies. It has received the highest rating awarded to an office building by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the global authority on sustainable buildings. The Edge incorporates a variety of smart technologies in harmony to create an adaptable and intelligent working environment.
Client: OVG Real Estate
Design: PLP Architecture
Interior Architect: Fokkema & Partners Architecten BV
Facility: Offices, Shared Atrium with Restaurant, Café, Conference Facilities, 2 Levels of Underground Car Parking, and Bicycle Parking for 500 Bicycles
Size: 40,000m² / 430,500ft²
- Winner of the 2016 Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence
- 2016 Your BREEAM Award recipient
- 2016 BREEAM Award for Offices – New Construction
- Finalist for the 2016 FGH Vastgoedprijs
- Shortlisted for the 2016 British Expertise International Awards Outstanding International Architecture Project
- Winner of the 2015 AIA Continental Europe Awards Environmental Design Award
- Shortlisted in the Best Sustainable Design Category at the 2015 Blueprint Awards
- ‘Outstanding’ new construction certification by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), earning the title of the world’s most sustainable office building
- Shortlisted for the 2015 WAN Sustainable Building Awards
- Finalist for the Best Innovative Green Building category at the 2015 MIPIM Awards