Zerodegree Architectrure

Akichi Office for Zorgeloosch

Prior to this small office architecture project, I had a small business with the client of this building. At the end of it my client, who then was working on my deal, sent me one e-mail. I initially thought that he is inviting me into his additional service. I opened it and came to found his invitation to this architectural project. He was working on a plan to build a 600 sqm office space.

The site he brought me was in the area previously the milk factory was standing in Stompetoren near Alkmaar. It has got a striking character, in a sense that it faces both a beautiful 17th century Schermer Polder landscapes, which dated back to as old as 1633, and the 70’s industry terrain looking unattractive. This contrast puzzled me. The beauty and the beast? This place is an urban incident. It was a small enough incident perhaps to be neglected by academics in terms of principle of urbanization, but it suggested me that we should be more critical to the 20th century urbanization. This place has got a news for us.

Quickly I sat on the table with my client. We talked about his dream and his idea. It was clear that he is committed to his project and pursuit success. He sketched out his plan for a building for office spaces on four levels with one staircase. It was not surprising to find that the client was keen to save costs in all aspects, but most importantly he was open for stunning architectural suggestions. I recognized immediately the point of this project: Under the current Dutch building code, stacking up three office levels that is in total also larger than one smoke compartment is not permmitted. I saw an chance in a sense that I was keen to go for an extreme solutions, So I took up the challenge.

Soon afterwards, I presented one architectural concept that consists of complete glass walls, that specified ZTA76 specification glasses on all sides of facades, each glasses measuring 6m wide and 3m tall. The design is a three glass boxes stacked up. For this design I applied as much as 24 sheets of these glasses in total. in terms of overall building costs and climate strategy, this project contained unique logics; One staircase serving three levels, Concrete floor slabs mounted on rudimental steel frameworks, Floor to ceiling glass façade fitted in Western Red Cedar frames, Sun-heat-reflective glass, satellite air conditioning system and application of night cooling. It employed all robust solution that brings benefit to this small architecture. The logic was tailored to suit only a building on this place, of this size and for this client. I removed every single thing, which was not strictly necessary. It sported full interior glasses to enable one staircase to function for serving as escape stair on three levels. After explaining the way I interpret the codes, fire brigade officer told my client that I know Dutch building codes by heart.

From the very beginning I was puzzled by the way the site took shape; confrontation of beautiful Dutch Polder and prosaic industrial zone. It was puzzling to witness it, because I imagine one wishes to realize a beautiful environment there. It got to be better. I was convinced that only an esthetic manifesto will reveal to visitors about the importance of our places. I wanted to pose question about who we have been during 20th century. Industrial area plays as crucial role as housing or working areas in transforming our landscapes.

Because my client has visitor intensive business, the interior experiences is one of the most important aspect of this building design. This brief help me pursuit my instinctive design approach, something I felt when I sat down with my client for the first time. It also helped executing interests in making a statement on next generation industrial zone, how it should looks a like, how it should help form a memorable place. Welstand committee committed to my design and told me that they rate it high.

A stark esthetics that presents panoramic view. Each levels faces slightly different directions. Seen from exterior, the building should have shape that suggests looking around.

It went into the site and now completed the construction works. Fortunately the all-important interior came well. Total building costs has settled very low at €600.000 including pave stone and including BTW and including pavement over the 750 sqm terrain.

Yushi Uehara