Qualm – informal office building, Rozenburg

1.000 m2 – office building

Completed in 2012
Client: Qualm
Location: Rozenburg, The Netherlands

nomination for Rotterdam Architecture Prize 2014

Qualm is a contracting firm for earthwork, road- and waterworks. They operate throughout the harbor of Rotterdam and it is a family business that went from father to son. When the company expanded, the client decided not to move to a new location, but to build a new office building on the same grounds. During the construction all personnel was moved to a temporary office on the site. That turned out to be a good decision. Just a glance out of the window was enough to stay updated on the progress and the entire Qualm company became affected by the project.

Our client had an explicit idea on what the new office should be: an office building that would reflect the operations and work methods of the company. On the one hand, the personnel need concentration workplaces. On the other hand, the company is organized horizontally and informal communication determines the successful operation of the company. A simple typological measure did the trick. We took a generic office setup and expanded the width of the corridor, creating a zone. By opening the zone up with voids, new spatial relations were created between the office floors and new areas were programmed for informal meetings and consultations between the workers.

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To emphasize the difference between the office spaces and the informal meeting zone, we chose to clash two extreme atmospheres. The office work stations were designed as radiant white all around. In the central zone, the floor, ceilings, stairs and parapets are made of ash wood.

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The building stands on the site where the company Qualm has long been established, in an industrial business park of the 1960s. The building fits in this robust context with a modestly designed façade. Behind the aluminum paneling an inventive, sustainable VRF air conditioning system is hidden. All piping and equipment are incorporated in the parapet, leaving no need for suspended ceilings in the offices.

shortlisted for the Rotterdam Architecture Prize 2014

Completed in 2012
Design team: Henk Bultstra, Bert Karel Deuten, Jaakko van ‘t Spijker,
Nikki Mulder, Eric Pigat, Nika Jazaei, Tanja Lina
Client: Qualm, Rozenburg
Structural engineer: Broersma, Den Haag
Building physics: Mobius, Delft
Light advisor: Beers Nielsen, Rotterdam
Interior fixed furniture: 13 Speciaal, Rotterdam
Contractor: Kroon + De Koning, Rotterdam

Photographs: Ruben Dario Kleimeer (exterior) Rene de Wit (interior)