In commission of Siemens Nederland, JHK Architecten completed the renovation and fit-out for the Siemens Headquarters in The Hague. The renovation plans included the characteristic 1972 building (Building H) and the extension dating from 1993 (Building K/R). This renovation, with a total rentable floor area of about 29.000 m², has upgraded the building’s sustainability, resulting in the granting of the renowned LEED Gold-label. The building complex was bought by PingProperties, but Siemens will continue using the buildings through a sale-and-leaseback construction. Construction started at the beginning of 2014. Building H was delivered in December 2015, Building K/R will be completed in 2016.
The existing buildings For some decades, Siemens Nederland has been stationed in a building complex at Prinses Beatrixlaan in The Hague. The complex stems from different building periods. The most characteristic part, Building H, was built in 1972 and was originally designed by Van Mourik Vermeulen Architects. It composes of three towers of different heights. This building was renovated in the early 90’s by deJong Hoogveld deKat, which was the company name of JHK Architects at the time. At the time of renovation, a new building was added; Building K/R, designed by deJong Hoogveld deKat in collaboration with Gunter R. Standke. In 2014, Building H as well as Building K/R were again ready for a complete renovation. Building H can be described as a functional stacking of flexible floors with a typical façade of concrete and glass. Though unmistakably 70’s in its appearance, the building is timeless in its capability for easy re-use due to the flexibility of its floor areas. This was part of the reason for Siemens to opt out from destruction and choose sustainable re-use. Siemens Nederland moved out of Building K/R, to settle completely in building H. In doing so the 90’s building is released to rent out to third parties.
The assignment The assignment given to JHK Architects and Deerns consulting engineers initially concerned the drawing of the specification documents in order to renovate the structure of buildings H and K/R, as well as managing and maintaining the edifices until October 2025. Based on these technical drawings the project was tendered and constructor BAM HABO was selected. The whole building complex was to be provided with the extremely sustainable LEED Gold label. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a U.S. green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Until this day only a few Dutch new-builds have been rewarded. Renovation in LEED Gold is therefore unique in the Netherlands. In a later stage JHK got commissioned to design the Siemens fit-out. The aim for this interior was to facilitate the ‘New Way of Working’ for about 1250 employees, and furthermore radiate Siemens’ corporate identity.
Structure renovation In behalf of the structural renovation, the three towers of Building H were stripped completely. It was possible to maintain the facades at the upper levels because they are relatively young, having been exchanged in the early 90’s. The facades at the ground floor however dated from the 70’s, and were substituted for building physical reasons. The new shell is designed fully in line with the original architectural concept, that relied on characteristically flat detail engineering. After asbestos had been removed, all the inner walls, ceilings and a large part of the installations were taken away. Walls, floors, ceilings and installations have been renewed. Compared to the original interior, typified by hard colouring, the new interior now presents itself as a calm and neutral background. The palette is mainly white, with smooth white columns and dark floorings. The prominent building cores are clad in a subtle pattern of vertical bamboo beams. This material ensures warmth and “materiality” in the otherwise clean-cut and professional environment. Bamboo is a fast growing grass species and therefore extremely sustainable. A convincing choice taking into consideration the ambitions for sustainability.
Process phasing Throughout the construction phase the building was to be kept in use, at least partly, since it was no option to temporarily move the whole Siemens organization to another location. To minimize any inconvenience for the employees JHK set up a process phasing plan that involved moving step by step. The construction took place dictated by the phasing plan, which meant an extra complexity for construction company BAM HABO.
LEED Gold Siemens Headquarters upgraded its buildings and environment to the Gold label of the green building certification program LEED. To receive LEED certification, building projects need to meet with prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. LEED rating system 'New Construction and Major Renovations' rates buildings in 5 categories: Sustainable sites, Water efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources en Indoor Environmental Quality. Siemens was rewarded with the Gold label for the realization of its ambitions.
Every building part received a technical room and a climate installation. Daylight dependent light regulation, presence detection, individual controllability of light and temperature all amount to energy efficiency and maximum energy reduction, as well as mechanical ventilation heat recovery and the use of green electricity.
Materials were considered in a sustainable way. This started with the re-use of existing parts of the building structure. Materials with a low emission rate were applied, while the new materials contain recycled ingredients. Transportation costs during construction period were reduced by using regional materials. The central location of the building and the expansion of alternative transportation means, together with water saving measures, energy efficient climate installation, sustainable use of materials and the building set up with a lot of daylight and far views account for fulfilling the requirements of the green building certification LEED Gold.
Interior Simultaneously to the renovation of the building structure, Siemens The Hague introduces the ‘New Way of Working’ concept. This Siemens Office Concept, being the international Siemens standard for the new way of working, is implemented in the building. This concept focuses on mobility, open-office landscape and flex-working. Specific spaces are designed as concentration cubicles, telephone booths, meeting spots, creativity rooms, living rooms and coffee corners. Standardized cores including sanitation, archives and printers mark the facility centre of every floor. These are the backbones of the surrounding open-office spaces with flexible work places and a variety of more informal meeting places. Rows of cubicles stretched along the facade allow for more specific working spaces. The core, with its main vertical ascent, is located centrally in the building and borders the heart of the office floor. This heart beats with meeting, orientation and arrival. From here the secondary meeting places, the coffee corners, are visible at a glance.
Look & Feel Every coffee corner in itself contains a couple of fixed design elements: lounge furniture, a pantry, a large kitchen table, and a media wall. The colouring and materialisation of these corners are designed by JHK Architects, as are the fixed elements. These design elements, in high-gloss white, fit the neutral and professional base of the building structure perfectly. The neutral base is interrupted by coloured accents in the carpet at the site of the coffee corners. The colourful patterns of beams, composed according to the proportions of the golden Ratio, are woven into the dark carpet. These bright accents also mark the links between the three connected towers. Siemens approached JHK for consultation in the planning of loose furniture. JHK achieved the look and feel concept consistently throughout the building. At the coffee corners, where the colour accent in the carpet is present, neutral furniture was picked. The informal meeting areas on the office floors show a subtle repetition of this colour accent, now applied to the furniture. The entrance hall is a special space. Visitors are welcomed and employees can sit down for a moment to work, have a coffee or meet up. To facilitate these processes, a reception office, an espresso bar, a business lounge and working spaces are introduced.
Workshop sessions were organized to create involvement and support from the future users. Representatives of the users brainstormed together and came up with a couple of scenario’s that JHK elaborated on. The result is a building which the users feel connected to and responsible for.