This smart office building is situated on a former mining location of the Oranje Nassau Mine in Heerlen.
During the seventies the mines were closed in Limburg, the southern part of the Netherlands. Since then virtually all physical references to this history have been erased. The only remaining element of this time in Heerlen, a former mining elevator tower, stands at the edge of the building site for the new Central Bureau for Statistics Heerlen. In the middle of the plot there is an old closed off mining shaft, below ground level and invisible to the eye. This mine shaft creates very specific conditions for building on this location.
The building includes office floors, a conference center with library, a restaurant and a main facility center. The underground parking gives place to 300 cars.
The special character of the site forms the main conceptual idea for the building’s layout. The office complex is a composition of five office wings which flare out in different directions around a transparent, central atrium. This specific part of the terrain may not be built with load barring elements, due to the former mining shaft. Therefore the special ‘mining shaft artwork’, which seemingly stands on the atrium floor, actually hangs from the atrium’s roof framework.
The five office wings mark the site’s zoning contours, thus forming the sharp office wing tips. Between these wings on top of the parking garage the landscape contains green and open gardens, planted with birch and pine trees. The transparent first floor level is higher than normal and contains the general public services, concentrated around the atrium. This building’s heart forms the vital link between on one hand the common functions as the restaurant, conference center, service desks and parking, and on the other hand the more private office floors. These office floors are reached via the three elevator groups, located strategically around the atrium. To enable future changes of a dynamic organization like CBS the office floors are totally flexible in layout and independently functioning units.
Finally: the layered character of the building’s façade fits to the site’s mining history. The glass screening print refers to the earth layer’s. The slight space between the glass and the outer wall construction creates an extra feeling of depth and shadow effects, giving the building a continuously changing look.