deBrug/deKade - Unilever Nederland

JHK Architecten as Architects

Design Competition The assignment began with a request for a characteristic, daringly designed office building linked to Unilever Nederland’s factory site on the Nassaukade. Intended to become a distinctive concept in offices, the structure was also meant to be part of a new urban fabric, the size and scale of which had to be considerably smaller than those of a 14,000 m2 office building.


Dura Vermeer, West 8 Urban Design and JHK Architecten teamed up and came up with a daring idea. Rather than at the intended Oranjeboom location, the headquarters would be located on top of the current factory. This would allow a ‘bridge building’ at a prominent location to join a family of existing bridges and harbour architecture. The colossus was prefabricated next to the factory. When presented at the World Port Days in September 2002, this skeleton was slid over the factory, arousing tremendous public interest. The competition proposal resulted in an immediate town-planning bonus, the construction of two entire blocks with 300 homes on the Nassaukade and the Oranjeboomstraat.


The office The office spans the current factory complex. Together with the existing historic building, it is the crowning glory of a multitude of industrial forms, buildings and materials. Thanks to its size and direction, it is an imposing presence at the entrance via the Maasboulevard, the first building in Rotterdam. It also benefits from the view on the city’s skyline.


The new office has 4 layers measuring 32x133 metres. The lowest floor is 25 metres above the quay. The main entrance is on the quay, next to the classical 19th century office building. The lift and staircase are in the inner court, opening up the storeys.


The offices offer a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city centre on the other side of the Maas.


Atriums and patios allow light to enter throughout the building. The vacant spaces are strategically located to ensure adequate illumination in the central zone.


Transparency is not only visible on the outer façade, it also contributes to give the entire building a communicative character. The building therefore adequately responds to the need for a dynamic office organization in which consultations can be held in an informal atmosphere.


deBrug/deKade Unilever Rotterdam

newDirections as Interior Architects

Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. This company statement had to be experienced in the new accommodation. Not an office, but a workshop, a place to meet and a source of inspiration. Together with the concept team we worked hard to create a working environment which does justice to the dynamic and creative business culture. Informal, apparently disorganized, nonconformist, with space for open communications, teamwork and flexibility. The new work environment is open and has a structure like a town, with roads, squares and houses. The town and the roads have a corporate image illustrating the consumer’s world. The houses were designed with input from the teams (within certain frameworks) to create work environments optimized for each team. The 12 squares and their kitchens provided places to meet, where seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting are key factors.


Outcome: Unique new accommodation in a new setting, providing a good work environment tailored to the different work processes. A special project.


A second, identical, stage for 200 workstations in the deKade building was completed in October 2007.


Roll newDirections: Project management, drafting of requirements, budget monitoring, facility planning, concept creator, interior design, purchasing and delivery.


Facts: 14.000 m2 user spaces ‘deBrug’ 4.000 m2 user spaces ‘deKade’ 1000 workstations 16 meeting rooms 12 multiboxes, 19 facility corners 16 displaces 12 creative kitchens Theater bar Employee shop


In cooperation with: JHK Architecten (architect), Vos interieur (interiorarchitect)

Office on Feet

Architectenweb Magazine as Media

A truly amazing building hovers above the historical factory complex of Unilever Nederland. A team consisting of staff members of Dura Vermeer, JHK architecten and West 8 Urban Design, thought of an inventive plan to incorporate 14,000 square metres of office space into the small plot already occupied by the factory. By literary lifting the office building above the location 300 homes can be added to the plot. The whole plot is a great example of mixed use but also mixed styles.


‘De Brug’ has a prominent place on Rotterdam’s skyline. The volume consists of four 25 metre wide and 130 metre long floors. This colossus is minimally supported by two V-shaped legs and a steel box. At the opposite end of the building are the elevation points and sanitary facilities. You can find the main entrance on the quay. Atriums, patios and voids make sure that light can shine everywhere unhindered.


Photography: Thea van den Heuvel, Roos Aldershoff

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