MVSA Architects has dramatically breathed new life into Amsterdam’s iconic Rivierstaete — a monolithic 1973 modernist office building on the Amstel — with a sustainable and architecturally sensitive makeover that connects the building to the riverfront and surrounding community in a way unlike ever before. Completed last year, the renovation has earned a BREEAM Very Good distinction for its future-proof design that emphasizes flexibility as well as energy-saving technologies. The addition of green roofs and terraces help absorb stormwater runoff to make the building “Amsterdam Rainproof.”

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a tiered building with windows covering the facade and a cement courtyard in front

Located in the south of Amsterdam, the eight-story Rivierstaete was originally designed by architect Hugh Maaskant as Europe’s largest office building in the early 1970s. In recent years, the massive modernist building has struggled to attract tenants and, in 2013, international real estate company Vastint purchased the structure in a public sale and tapped MVSA Architects to lead the redesign. Instead of taking the easier option of demolishing and constructing a new building on site, the team decided to embrace the original design with a renovation.

a riverfront view of a tired, glass facade building, which is also reflected in the water

Critical to the redesign was opening up the building to the surroundings, which necessitated replacing the original pinched band of windows on the white-tiled facade with floor-to-ceiling glass. The new glazed facade, along with planted roof terraces added at different levels, gives the building a more open and inviting feel. The roof terraces, roof gardens, and green roofs also help provide water buffering and retention.

Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

a bird's-eye view of the new Rivierstaete building, showing the city, trees and river. the new building features green rooftops

The glazed facade helps bring a greater amount of natural light indoors, which have now been rendered completely asbestos free to contribute to a cleaner and healthier working environment. Daylight control and motion sensors as well as solar shades provide optimized and energy-efficient climate control. The interior layout has also been reconfigured for flexibility to ensure a future-proof design. 

+ MVSA Architects

Images via MVSA, Barwerd van der Plas, and Philip Lyaruu