open source office

The Brakel Interieurgroep is established at the Havenkwartier in Hilversum. The current office is 25 years old and needs to be replaced. Renovation could be a possibility, but the client has set himself a more ambitious target.

“We see the future in flexible building, demountable building with open source designs and chain integration. The target of the Open Source Office competition is a design for a durable and flexible office. And more important is the co-creation during the competition and making the designs available after the contest, so everyone can use and improve these.”

Mission statement - Brakel Interieurgroep

The client has organised a contest for a durable, flexible and demountable office, created from sharing knowledge. As a consortium studio id+ has won this contest together with 030ARCHITECTEN and ARCADIS. Unfortunately, the design is never realised due to bankruptcy. This does not mean that we are not still so enthusiastic about the design and the process that we want to continue to tell the story.

Sharing of knowledge

Five teams that during a period of 2 months, intensive share knowledge in order to jointly and individually achieve maximum results. This almost sounds like a study assignment. But that is not the case, it is the description of the selection process for the new office of the Brakel Interieurgroep.

Via an online platform information and knowledge is shared, not just with the client but also with the other teams. By sharing the knowledge this could be deployed and was not lost. But where there are opportunities, we can also see threats. After all, only 1 team can win. And what do you share and what not?

Our victory is partly owed to the fact that we shared almost all information. And this is actually still the foundation of our firm. We live in an information society where so much information is already available. But also where we are faced with complex assignments where we really need each other. A society with an enormous speed and development. Whereby it would be a shame if we all individually try to invent the wheel?

Demolition versus re-use

The new office would be located on the existing premises. But only on the other side, where there was a sight location. However, this also appeared to be the location where the latest built hall of the company was located. This hall was only 5 years old.

Not really a durable thought to demolish this already, to make room for a new and super durable office, so we thought. So, this became our principle; the re-use of the existing hall.

North – South orientation & passive building

The allocated spot was a corner location. With further study, it appeared that the full head of the existing building however had a north-south orientation. If we could use this, we could use passive building, whereby we would also put down the first passively-built office of the Netherlands. An easy decision. Via passive building and a combination of smart energy and installation solutions we could possibly even put down a 0-energy building. So, we chose to use the full head of the building.

Passive building requires a very high insulation level and it must be ensured that the heat in the summer cannot enter the building easily but that in winter it must indeed penetrate the building deeply. The principle of a thermos flask; what is cool or hot must remain like that and the wall protects this. In other words, we chose a double facade, a box-in-box construction fully structured from wood. Not normal wood but Acoya wood, a durable type of softwood. In the design we would further ensure small openings on the north side and large openings with large coverings on the south side.

Placing an atrium & vides

Due to the extended change in the location and orientation of the office there was more need for daylight. We found this by placing an atrium. However, daylight was not the only reason, we could also use the atrium for green to become part of the installations and the durability vision. Namely, underneath the atrium a container for rain water was placed; all the water from the roof was captured in this.

Flexibility cannot exist without some type of stability.

There was a clear wish for a very flexible office. A flexible office cannot exist without some extent of stability. Stairs, lifts, pantries, working closets and storages are simple not that flexible. So, we have clustered and placed them in the backbone of the building. This zone crosses the complete building and connects the separate zones with each other. By linking a vide that is also connected to the atrium also extra sight lines are created. Meeting each other this way becomes really attractive!

Intertwine of interior & architecture

In our visions interior and architecture are integrally connected with each other. The interior is no inbuilt package within a building and the architecture is not a coat around the user. If we talk about routing and orientation, daylight, dimensions of rooms and the experience of the building in terms of interior we automatically mean facade openings, floor heights and the lay-out of the map. But also in terms of installations, lighting and architectural elements the building and interior touch each other.

From this belief, both are therefore integrally design with each other. From both disciplines with own knowledge and expertise. Whereby the focus in the interior was on clarifying and translating the identity of the client into the interior. And we went very far in this; the vision was considered till the latest chair.

Durability till in the chair legs.

So where interior and architecture were entwined with each other at design level, we did this at all levels. So also on the level of durability. After the aforementioned durability operations the remaining heat of the paint spray unit from the company is used as energy for the office for example. And by passive building we minimise the energy demand. But we were also looking for ways to use products of the client.

So, Brakel itself developed a climate wall that could be used for heating or cooling. In cooperation with the product development we have further developed this wall to be deployed as semi-high partition walls with the desks. Without fully separating partition walls we could use the advantages of the climate wall this way and apply individual workplace heating and cooling. Because we chose for a grid of only one metre the complete workplace plan became also very flexible.

Durability does not just stop with the building and the installations. In the interior everything is also entwined with the durability vision. Separate interior is selected on products made from recycled materials, the footprint of materials is considered and for example fabrics from recycled yarn, renewable materials or minimised water consumption are used.

Flexibility on the roof

A wish from the client was to be flexible now and in the future. Concrete figures on how many people would use the office in future were not available yet. From that perspective we developed containers that were placed on the premises, but that could be placed on the roof in case of shortage to create extra space.

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