Danone’s “One Planet, One Health” philosophy underpins the entire design. By saving energy and water while reducing carbon emissions, this highly sustainable office building truly respects the environment. It also reflects Danone’s commitment to health and wellbeing by focusing on a healthy indoor climate and a comfortable, versatile working environment.
Regular visitors to Taurusavenue in Hoofddorp will surely have spotted it: the Danone Netherlands Global Headquarters. This amazing building, located in Amsterdam’s metropolitan area near the “Stelling van Amsterdam” historic fortifications, houses 8,400 m² of offices and ancillary facilities that primarily accommodate the Group’s Early Life Nutrition and Advanced Medical Nutrition divisions. The architectural masterpiece was designed by Powerhouse Company and Red Company, the winners of the 2017 design competition.
Inspired by the company’s vision of “One Planet, One Health”, which focuses on the links between human health and the environment, the architects created what can be regarded as a true model building, aiming to respect its users’ health and striving for sustainability. Powerhouse Company also designed another building in the area: the new ASICS headquarters. This building shares facilities with Danone’s head office to form a sustainable campus as a harmonious whole.
Sleek lines, rounded corners, transparency
The architects designed the building’s façades keeping in mind the characteristics of the chosen location and the proximity of Stelling van Amsterdam. Stelling van Amsterdam, a 135 km long ring of ancient fortifications built to defend the city, is a major historical monument that has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1996.
The architects chose large windows and gradual transitions from the building to its natural surroundings and vice versa to blend the entire structure into its specific urban and natural setting. Take the windows as a prime example: with great success, their soft, rounded corners create a link between the building’s rigid geometric structure and its natural environment.
Combining creativity with technical expertise
The challenge of customising the building with its wide, rounded corners and spans of over 3.5 m in its straight surfaces was one that we at WICONA could meet thanks to our many years of expertise. The sheer weight of the windows proved particularly daunting. That is why we mainly used WICTEC 50 within the curtain walls, a system that allows the creation of tailor-made solutions for carrying large spans. The main challenge was the weight of the curved glass sections and the huge straight glass surfaces. The resulting deflection would have been too much for standard aluminium profiles, so WICONA’s experts came up with a tailor-made solution unique for this building. Our curtain walls and doors for this project are made from “Hydro Circal 75R” aluminium, a circular solution recovered from old windows, doors, and curtain walls from demolition, renovation and transformation projects.
The building’s interior is arranged around a large central atrium adjacent to the surrounding park. This creates a huge vertical space illuminated via the glass roof and façade. A 20-metre-long wall covered entirely with plants constitutes a green lung, visible from all of the building’s floors. The second main feature characterising the atrium is a large, prominent staircase. This marks the start of the building’s main walking route, connecting all of its floors and designed to serve various functions. Its large steps make it a perfect setting for informal breaks or presentations and meetings. This “social” role enhances the appeal of the staircase, encouraging staff to take the stairs rather than the lift.
The carefully selected materials and design with a focus on sustainability and users’ health have been awarded LEED Gold and WELL Gold certification in line with Danone’s vision of “One Planet, One Health”.
Location: Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Size: 8,400 m²
Typology: Commercial Headquarters
Period: 2017 - 2019
WICONA system: WICTEC 50
Developer: RED Company
Architect: Powerhouse Company www.powerhouse-company.com
Landscape Architect: LAP Landscape & Urban Design
Construction: IMd Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Contractor: Pleijsier Bouw
Photography: FC Lama
Video: MVL Media Group
Source text: Agnese Bifulco