Touted as one of the most sustainable office buildings in Europe, the new EEA and Tax Offices in Groningen, The Netherlands, is clad in a series of organically-shaped white fins giving the building an accessible and friendlier facade. Recently completed, the governmental office complex was designed by UNStudio with consortium DUO² for future flexibility and energy efficiency in mind. Daylighting, a high performance facade, natural ventilation, material conservation, flexibility and a healthy interior all add up to a fully integrated, intelligent design approach towards sustainability.
The 92 meter complex has an undulating, white, curved facade and houses the national tax offices and the student loan administration. Designed to accommodate 2,500 workstations, the asymmetrical building features parking facilities for 1,500 bicycles and an underground parking garage for 675 cars. Situated in the woods, the site also shelters rare and protected species and eventually will be surrounded by a large public city garden with a pond and a multifunctional pavilion.
The design team, which also includes Lodewijk Baljon for the landscape design, Arup for the engineering and Studio Linse as the interior adviser, was tasked with creating a long term platform for sustainability that included reduced maintenance, energy efficiency, material resource conservation, long term flexibility, and reduced impact on its surroundings. The floor heights were reduced from 3.6 meters to 3.3 meters, bringing the total height of the building down by 7.5 meters, which lowers the building’s profile and reduces construction materials.
A core feature of the building’s energy efficiency strategy is the white-finned facade, which works to improve daylighting, provide solar shading and control wind. The horizontal fins also diffuse the sun’s heat and reduce the need for cooling. A concrete core with underground long term storage also reduces the need for external energy sources. Natural ventilation and individual climate control for each work station helps maintain a healthy indoor environment. Finally, the building was designed for the future so that the flexible interior could be transformed into residences or so that the residual heat energy of the data center and offices could be used to heat nearby homes.
Images ©Ronald Tilleman, Christian Richter and Ewout Juibers