'Paris proof' transformation for 98,000 sq. ft. ABN AMRO office building

ABN AMRO is renovating its Amsterdam office on Foppingadreef into a modern work and meeting place in the coming years. Commissioned by real estate developer EDGE and the bank, Broekbakema made the design for the Paris Proof transformation of this monumental office building in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. Some 11,000 employees will soon have their new home here. A circular and green building that will also have various public functions.

Monumental building

We have a special connection with the striking ABN AMRO office. Broekbakema designed the original building for AMRO bank in the 1980s. The design at the time fitted well with the bank’s identity; clear, future-proof and, for its time, already very energy-efficient. With the new office, Amsterdam also immediately gained a structuralist and monumental building.

Structuralist design

Structuralism is an architectural movement from the middle of the last century that brought back the human scale of buildings. The layout of the office with small-scale and Y-shaped office wings resembles a city or village. You can find a human scale in these wings with workplaces. They merge like an imaginary city district into meeting and collaborating through the larger whole of the building..

Future-proof in origin

Of course, these form features from the 1980s and the “community character” remain. The original complex consists of a classic silhouette with a main building and three cores for the Y-shaped office wings, with the exception of the ultra-modern dealing room of the time. In this layout, the building was prepared for future expansion back then. Now forty years later, the time has come. This transformation gives the building three new Y elements, following an initial renovation that we also supervised in the 1990s.

Connecting outside and inside

Thanks to the Y-shapes of the basic design, you have a view of the outside world from all the office wings. In the workplaces, this makes the atmosphere of the four seasons feel close at hand. While light and air enter just as easily everywhere, thanks to a balance between mass (the building’s Y-shapes) and emptiness (the outside world). At the time, heating, cooling, ventilation, insulation, lighting and shading were already cleverly incorporated. The facades and ceilings served as a proverbial coat. This made the building remarkably energy efficient even then.

Design approach

Left: 1. Dismantling building sections Ba and D     Right: 2. Cores with Y-shaped office wings 

      Left: 3. Adding new Y-shaped wing      Right: 4. Public and accessible plinth

      Left: 5. New atria interconnected        Right: 6. Gardens from outside to inside

Transformatie ABN AMRO kantoor

More spontaneous encounters

The current transformation builds on the human scale of the original design. It does so with nine atriums as enclosures for the open spaces between the Y-shaped office wings. From the linked atria with meeting plazas, a continuous interior landscape is thus created. This provides additional overview and orientation, as if you were walking through the center of a city or village. This immediately provides employees and visitors with more opportunities for spontaneous contact moments and informal encounters.

One with the neighborhood

The building will be freely accessible to the neighborhood in several places, for example through the public atrium that extends far into the building as the main entrance. To this end, the current forecourt on Foppingadreef will undergo a major metamorphosis. At the corner of the building there will also be a meeting place with a social function. Furthermore, the former dealing room on the railroad side will make way for an additional office section with a restaurant on the first floor. From the waterfront terrace you can look out over the new green outdoor square and railroad park from this spot.

A place for art

The bank is also opening its art collection in the building to the public. There will be an art passage under the building. Halfway down this underpass between Foppingadreef and the new railroad park are art showcases that connect the passage with the meeting center and event space above. Passers-by and visitors can also admire pieces from the art collection in the public atrium. ABN AMRO’s opening contributes to the expansion of the art route through Amsterdam Zuidoost.

Nature drawn in

The building design provides a natural transition between outside and inside. After entering at the main entrance, you walk into a natural interior landscape in the green space of the atrium. The total of nine atriums and the meeting plaza are generously provided with greenery and wood. In these natural places there is plenty of room for informal meeting. Nature also remains close at the workplaces themselves. The number of roof gardens of the original building will be expanded for this purpose.

Circular use of materials

Of the materials from the original building, 70,000 m2 will be reused. The materials recall the history of the bank and will therefore be given a visible place in the building design. New uses will be sought for the remaining materials wherever possible. For new material use, circularity also applies as a starting point. All atriums are made of wood and glass, including the wooden slats and facades, in addition to the 30,000 m2 of new wooden floors. Detachable and unprocessed materials guarantee the possibility of reuse in the future.

Model Paris Proof transformation

The ABN AMRO office will soon be twice as sustainable as required by the international Paris climate agreement. The Netherlands currently has few examples of transformations of this scale. Thanks to the transformation, energy consumption is less than 30 kWh per square meter and thus significantly lower than the 50 kWh from the climate agreement. The wooden main structures are also beneficial for CO2 storage.

Completely energy neutral

The building’s facade area is minimal and significantly reduces energy demand. For the containment of energy consumption, the atria have an important function, as do the 10,500 m2 of solar panels on the (atria) roofs and in the facades. This is done according to the BENG methodology. Thanks to such measures, the office building is eligible for the highest attainable BREEAM Oustanding sustainability certificate.

Leading ‘climate building’

The bank wants to be a ‘reference point’ for the circular society and also encourages other parties to adopt the applied design. Everyone is free to copy the plans and experiences of the redevelopment and renovation, also called the ‘right to copy’. We too will actively share our experiences in the coming period.
'Paris proof' transformation ABN AMRO office
Gross floor area
106.900 m²
Start design
Ir. Aldo Vos, Marius Voets MArch, Ir. Sandra Sánchez de la Garza
Marius Voets MArch
ABN AMRO is renovating its Amsterdam office on Foppingadreef into a modern working and meeting place in the coming years.

We are happy to tell you more.

  • ir. Aldo Vos
  • Architect director
  • Contact