Gallery: PREFAB: Playful Office Building Planned for Amsterdam

matchbox office building amsterdam

A new project in the city of Amsterdam recently received approval: a 22-unit office building designed by Allard Architecture that will use prefabricated concrete “matchboxes.” The office building is fittingly dubbed the Matchbox building, given the segmented quality of the stacked and angled boxes that lend themselves to a facade characterized by large picture windows and units that cantilever out over the sidewalk. The finished look appears playful, modern and creative — perfect for the artistic neighborhood in Amsterdam North.

The Matchbox building is planned to be made of prefabricated concrete boxes, stacked on top of each other. Each level is its own independent concrete box that hangs on thin structural walls that will use very little steel to provide support. Inside, some of the walls will be finished with galvanized steel, so that art work, designs or layouts can easily be hung up on the walls with magnets. In the center of the building, an atrium garden is open to the floors with bridges spanning the garden to connect the units. This atrium also acts to bring in daylight to the individual units.

The building is intended for start-up companies and other young, hip firms so it was important that the building provide affordable rent — facilitated by the use of prefabricated materials. By keeping rent affordable, the owners and city council hope to attract active companies that will boost creative industries in the trendy area.

+ Allard Architecture

via ArchDaily


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  1. Bridgette Steffen May 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I would say that specifically for prefab concrete, it is more efficient to construct them offsite – more control, less weather, better curing for the concrete. That means a tighter, more efficient envelope. Couldn’t tell you the R-value difference between concrete/wood & steel frame though.

  2. sayitgreen May 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Bridgette – that is a way cool find! Theese prefab buildings look like they are getting very sophisticated. Do you have any idea whether this building design is more energy-efficient than a traditional wood frame or steel frame construction?


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