Heritage Transformation Office

Droogbak, a perfect fusion of past and present

Over the past five years Droogbak, an iconic 19th century building next to Amsterdam Central Station, has been transformed into an office space for the 21st century. KCAP was commissioned by Allianz Real Estate, together with consulting engineers ABT, and was responsible for the spatial transformation of the listed building; Fokkema Partners drew on this in their interior design for law firm Clifford Chance. Focal point was to create a future proof monument that enables a new way of working.

The neo-Renaissance Droogbak building was designed in 1884 as headquarters for the Hollandse IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij (Dutch Iron Railway Company). Over time, the building has had several u...

Location
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
Client
  • Allianz Real Estate
Year
  • 2016 - 2022
Status
  • Completed
Program
  • 12.000 m2 renovation and transformation of monumental office building of international law firm Clifford Chance Amsterdam, with restaurant, common spaces, technical areas and parking
Disciplines
  • Architecture
Credits
  • Photography: Bram Vreugdenhil
Collaborators
  • Interior Architect: Fokkema & Partners
  • Structural engineer, installation consultant and building physics consultant: ABT consulting engineers
  • TRANSFORMATION
  • Asbestos: Van de Poel Onderzoek & Advies
  • BMA and historical survey/valuation: Bureau Monumenten en Archeologie
  • Historical colour research: Josephine & Co.
  • Consultant to client: Arcadis
  • Contractor: Heijmans
  • Restoration: Jurriens
  • INTERIOR
  • Advisor to users: DEV_real estate
  • Engineering: Boersema
  • Realization interiors: Smeulders Interieurgroep
  • Realization interiors: Verwol Interieurbouw
  • Project design: Desque
Publications
  • During the previous restoration, the central courtyard had been covered and converted into a library. KCAP reactivated this space: the bright, glass-covered atrium has been given a new life as a dynamic and animated place for meeting, interaction and exchange, and serves as a crucial node in the building’s new routing. Additional staircases provide access to the upper floors and the restaurant in the basement, while bay windows and balconies reinforce the visual relationships between floors and with the atrium - a place to see and be seen.

    "The atrium is the heart of Droogbak and serves as the 'starting point' of the transformation concept, both literally and figuratively. It offers a new dynamic and a new way of working, with respect for the historical architecture," says Irma van Oort, partner at KCAP. "A perfect fusion of past and present."
  • A sculptural spiral staircase in anodized aluminum serves as an eye catcher within the atrium. This staircase, which runs to the second floor, is more than just a vertical connection; it allows for informal encounters and connects a series of mini hubs located on the building's interior façade. These mini hubs are equipped with glass skyboxes which overlook the liveliness of the atrium. The spiral staircase is a visual representation of Droogbak’s transformation: a constructive addition that enables social interaction.

  • Spatial, functional and technical modifications have transformed Droogbak into a contemporary office, while preserving its monumental values. The user experience is that of a comfortable, safe and inspiring working environment, says Kobus van der Zwaal consultant at ABT.

  • The interior design by Fokkema Partners adds to this by creating spaciousness, openness and intimacy, and offers a playful interpretation of the building’s historical features. For example, the design of the architectural elements in the atrium loosely refers to the neo Renaissance interior façade. By applying pronounced color planes, the period rooms, with their original details, are transformed into a modern office environment; planes in a historical ochre tone mark new corridors in the richly ornamented hallways. The top floor, with its original wooden rafters, has been kept free of partitions and is organized in different 'home zones'. Opening up this space further reveals the quality of the monument and creates a panoramic view of the city. “Droogbak's new interior offers a strikingly contemporary user experience; an experience that finds its origins in the stately architecture, but also offers new perspectives. Maximum effect has been achieved with minimal impact on the monumental interior," says Laura Atsma, partner at Fokkema Partners.

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