The original Provinciehuis [Provincial House] Flevoland in Lelystad was built in the early 1980s and has been expanded several times over the years. Because of an acute shortage of space and an outdated working environment, the provincial authorities once again chose for renovation and expansion in 2005. After analysing the location and the existing buildings, van den Oever Zaaijer & Partners architecten determined that a comprehensive approach to the building complex would provide the best results for the building as a whole. The expansions carried out in different periods had resulted in a complex of four buildings, which lacked visual unity and failed to function as well as they could in terms of logistics. Multiple entrances and scattered reception centres made it difficult for visitors to find their way to the right department in the building. Furthermore, due to this unclear logistics setup, it was difficult to provide security for the building in accordance with today’s standards.
Design proposal within budget The design proposal for the renovation and expansion by van den Oever Zaaijer & Partners architecten comprised reorganisation of the floor plans, expansion with an additional storey and a totally new, transparent identity by replacing the outdated facades, which were in a poor state of repair. The proposal went a considerable step beyond the schedule of requirements. The original assignment consisted of a small expansion in the garden and renovation of building section I. Because the Provincial Council recognised the benefits of the proposal and not least because van den Oever Zaaijer & Partners architecten expected to be able to realise all of this within the defined budget, the project was commissioned. Work was carried out in phases, and the building was completed in December 2007.
Design principles The design concentrates on the following themes: functionally linking the building sections, creating a new, transparent entrance area, expansion by adding an additional storey instead of a new volume, and creating visual unity through new facades with flowing horizontal lines that join the building sections together. The renovation design also included optimisation of the electrical and mechanical engineering, providing the building with an advanced energy-saving and energy-efficient system. In addition, reorganisation of the floor plans and replacement of the facades have ensured that the workspaces comply with the latest health & safety regulations.
Transparent and well-organised One of the most striking changes is the well-organised, centrally situated entrance area that provides access to all the sections of the building. The public functions are concentrated around this central area as much as possible. Open spaces above each storey bring the public in visual contact with the storeys that are only accessible to personnel. The fact that the open spaces for the different storeys are somewhat staggered gives a great sense of space. The open spaces satisfy the fire safety requirements with a partial sprinkler system that could be installed within the available budget. The two-storey high curved glass facade connects the entrance area and the conference hall to a transparent plinth. This creates the openness and the transparent character that the Provincial Council wishes to project to the public. With an inviting gesture in the form of a large canopy and a footbridge over the water feature, the main entrance has gone from unclear to unmistakable. Although the main lobby looks brand new, the existing elements were used as much as possible. This includes the original, centrally situated spiral staircase and the existing lift.
New sustainable facades The essential renovation of the existing facades was taken as an opportunity to create visual unity between the different building sections. The original rectangular box shapes were rounded to allow the connections between the building sections to flow. Horizontal lines in the facade link the outstretched wings together naturally. The lines consist of a pronounced framework of aluminium wing profiles, filled in with ceramic tiles with an innovative metallic sheen. The lines alternate with strips with an irregular pattern of windows and closed sections. The tall windows capture a lot of natural light, allowing it to penetrate deep into the rooms, thereby contributing to the building’s energy efficiency. There was great attention for sustainability and maintenance in the choice of materials and the facade design. The facades are constructed from maintenance-free materials such as ceramic tiles, aluminium and sustainable sheeting material. Maintenance of the main entrance area’s staggered glass facade has also been included in the design. Cleaners can easily access the glass from both the inside and the outside of the building.
New interior The renovation was not confined to the outside of the building; the inside was also given a makeover. A new course was taken for the design concept with the introduction of meeting places at different levels in the building. The core of the concept is formed by the plaza that connects the office wings on each storey. Open spaces connect plazas to the public centre of the building vertically, creating a new spatial structure that opens up the introverted office floors and brings the public and members of staff in contact with one another naturally.
Exemplary role The renovation and expansion has given the Province of Flevoland a prominent Provinciehuis that meets today’s standards in every respect. The new transparent character fits with the public function of the building. Moreover, with its new energy-efficient system, which uses geothermal heat and cold storage, the Provinciehuis serves as an example with regard to energy saving and care for the environment.