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MVRDV completes geology-inspired skyscraper Valley in Amsterdam
Netherlands Architecture News - Sep 22, 2022 - 15:05 3618 views
Named Valley, the 75,000-square-metre mixed-use skyscraper, located in Amsterdam’s Zuidas neighbourhood, features a natural appearance; it looks like as if the glass block has crumbled away to reveal craggy rock faces inside replete with natural stone and greenery.
Designed for real estate company EDGE, the skyscraper was officially opened on 16 September in a special ceremony.
The project is distinguished with its three towers: one is 67 meters, other is 81 meters, and the tallest one is 100 metres offering spectacular cantilevered apartments.
While MVRDV is responsible for architectural design of the project, Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf designed the landscape of the project and Heyligers Architects designed the interiors of the building.
Valley combines offices, shops, catering, cultural facilities, and apartments into a single building, and unlike the closed-off buildings elsewhere in the Zuidas, the green valley that winds between the towers on the fourth and fifth floors is accessible to everyone via two external stone staircases.
According to MVRDV, Valley aims to bring a green and human dimension back to the inhospitable office environment of Amsterdam Zuidas.
Since it has multiple faces; on the outer edges of the building there is a shell of smooth mirrored glass, which evokes the context of the business district.
Inside this shell, the building acts as completely different, it has more inviting natural appearance, "as if the glass block has crumbled away to reveal craggy rock faces inside replete with natural stone and greenery."
"A symphony of life"
The project was led by MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas and the architect described the project as "a symphony of life."
"How do you make an office district liveable? What should the homes be like? What else is needed? Those were the questions we started with when we designed Valley," said Winy Maas.
"Instead of a one-note business centre, this site along Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam is now a symphony of life – people working, yes, but also barbecuing on their terraces, visitors relaxing in the valley, shopping in the grotto, eating dinner by the street, and even the window cleaners and the gardeners scaling the heights above."
"Valley is a first step towards transforming this part of Amsterdam into a greener, denser, and more human city," Maas added.
Various locations throughout the three-tower complex offer breathtaking views of the city – the apartments, of course, but especially the sky bar at the top of the tallest tower, which visitors can access via the Molteni flagship store on the ground floor.
The building’s layout is tailored to a mixture of residents, workers, and visitors: on top of the three-storey underground car park, offices occupy the lower seven floors, with apartments located on the eighth floor and up.
Much of the building is open to the public: from the publicly accessible footpath that zig-zags up to the central valley from the street level, to the Grotto, an atrium that forms a covered street on the first floor where the Sapiens Lab – a breeding ground for young scientists – will soon open.
The grotto is connected to the outside by two large skylights that double as shallow water pools in the valley level above, and its natural stone flooring, walls, and ceilings – the same stone used on the surfaces of the valley and towers – makes clear that all the public areas of the building are part of the same apparently geological formation.
40,000 stone tiles were used in the façade
The design and construction of Valley is utterly bespoke, requiring the sustained commitment of hundreds of designers, engineers, builders, consultants, and of course the client.
Due to the complex structure of design, the process required "a special commitment to fine detailing that further enhances the design concept," as MVRDV explained.
In this process, MVRDV’s technology experts created a series of custom digital tools to perfect the building, from a tool that ensured every apartment had adequate light and views, to a programme that made possible the apparently random pattern of over 40,000 stone tiles of varying sizes that adorn the building’s façades.
The project consists of 198 apartments in which each of them has a unique floorplan, and their interior designs were realized by the interior designs by Heyligers Architects.
"And the outlandish cantilevers of the towers are possible thanks to innovative engineering, including eleven steel “specials” bolted to the concrete building that take the overall appearance to the next level," stated MVRDV.
Landscape architect Piet Oudolf devised a matrix to define the right plants that can be adapted to each location in the building, taking into account factors such as wind, sunlight, temperature, and maintenance.
Visitors can see trees that are largely found on the lower floors, while the uppermost levels mainly support small plants.
In total, the project includes more than 271 young trees and shrubs and approximately 13,500 smaller plants that occupy the natural stone planters, representing 220 different plant species.
"In the coming years, the building will mature into the lush appearance of the design team’s vision as the greenery continues to grow," explained MVRDV.
"The biodiversity of this landscape is further supported by bird- and bat boxes as well as various bee and insect hotels. Maintained using an automatic irrigation system and by “façade gardeners”, the trees and plants on the terraces will positively affect the well-being of people living and working in Valley."
MVRDV also emphasized that the project becomes important since "it combines insights in the field of sustainability, technology, and health."
According to the firm, "the building’s energy performance is 30 per cent better than local regulations require, it has received BREEAM-NL Excellent certification for the commercial spaces, and the residential area scored an 8 out of 10 on the GPR Building Scale, a Dutch measurement tool that scores buildings across five themes of energy, environment, health, quality of use, and future value."
The office spaces consist of the latest smart technologies, including IP-based Building Automation Systems and various sensors linked to monitoring actual usage.
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Fourth floor plan
Fifth floor plan
9th floor plan
10th floor plan
10th floor plan
15th floor plan
MVRDV won a competition to design Valley in the Zuidas Business District in 2015. Construction work began on the project in 2017 and completed in four years with the first residents and entrepreneurs moving into the building at the end of 2021.
MVRDV is currently working on a new mixed-use Oasis Towers on the edge of the Jiangbei New Area’s Financial District, Nanjing, China. The office revealed design for a new mixed-use tower, Skanderbeg Building, in the shape of a statue of Albania’s national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti, in Tirana, Albania.
Project name: Valley
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size & Programme: 75,000m2 mixed-use (residential, offices, cultural, retail, and parking)
Sustainability certification: BREEAM-NL Excellent (commercial spaces)
Principal in charge: Winy Maas
Partner: Jeroen Zuidgeest
Director: Gideon Maasland
Competition: Anton Wubben, Luca Moscelli, Sanne van Manen, Elien Deceuninck, Marco Gazzola, Jack Penford Baker, Brygida Zawadzka, Francis Liesting, Annette Lam, Hannah Knudsen.
Design Team: Gijs Rikken and Gideon Maasland with Guido Boeters, Wietse Elswijk, Saimon Gomez Idiakez, Rik Lambers, Javier Lopez-Menchero, Sanne van Manen, Stephanie McNamara, Thijs van Oostrum, Frank Smit, Boudewijn Thomas, Maria Vasiloglou, Laurens Veth, Cas Esbach, Mark van Wasbeek, Olesya Vodenicharska.
Building Owner: RJB Group of Companies
Contractor: G&S Bouw B.V., Boele & Van Eesteren B.V.
Landscape Design: Piet Oudolf, DeltaVorm Groep
Interior design: Heyligers Architects
Cost Calculator: BBN adviseurs
Structural Engineer: Van Rossum Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Installations: Deerns, DWA
Building Physics and Fire Safety: DGMR
Parametric Design Volume: ARUP
Real Estate Consultant: CBRE, Heeren Makelaars
Images: Vero Visuals
Graphic Design: PlusOne
Model: made by mistake
All images © Ossip van Duivenbode
Diagrams and Drawings © MVRDV
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