12.3.2012

Office BP Rotterdam Refinery, The Netherlands

La refinería de petróleo BO RR de los Países Bajos, instaló sus nuevas oficinas en las proximidades de su planta industrial. El lugar, ubicado en d'Arcyweg, es una zona de transición entre el áspero paisaje industrial de las refinerías y la exuberante vegetación y los humedales de Brielsemeer  a través del Canal de Hartel. La posición clave de este lugar es la prominente curva de la autopista A15 que ofrece la oportunidad para un desarrollo potencialmente excepcional. La subyacente visión del amplio paisaje prevé la construcción sobre una alta duna, a lo largo de la curva de la carretera. Debido al posible peligro de una explosión, el edificio se encuentra en la zona norte, ubicado en la duna y ajardinado, mientras que en el lado sur el edificio surge desde la duna, optimizando así las vistas y la entrada de luz natural. Como resultado, el edificio tiene tres lados característicos: 1. la duna en el lado norte, donde se mezclan el edificio y el paisaje, 2. el lado sur, donde el edificio con sus distintos volúmenes se hace claramente visible desde el puente Suurhoff, 3. la fachada elegantemente curvada en el lado de la plaza donde, de una manera accesible y lógica, se sitúa la entrada del edificio. La duna en una forma dinámica es visible también en el interior y pasa a formar parte del entorno de trabajo.

As youngest and largest oil refinery in The Netherlands, BP RR exposes a powerful dynamism which is reflected in the new offices, situated safely in close proximity to the oil refinery. It was the aim of GROUP A to design a building that expresses and accommodates the objectives of the company, including providing a sustainable, safe and healthy working environment for the dedicated staff.

Location between refinery and nature
The site along the d’Arcyweg-area is located in the transition zone between the harsh industrial landscape of refineries and the lush green and wetlands of the Brielsemeer directly across the Hartel Canal. The key position this location holds – situated in the prominent curve of the A15 motorway – offers potentially exceptional development opportunities. The underlying landscape vision for the wider area envisages for the location the construction of a high dune body along the curve of the highway. The landscape intervention provides, together with the need to create a safe workplace against possible explosion of the oil refinery, highly unconventional but interesting conditions for the new office building. Starting point in the GROUP A design is to highlight and further strengthen the particular circumstances of the site, in the design development of both the exterior and the interior of the building.

Building in man-made dune
Because of the possible danger of explosion the building is on the north site nestled into the landscaped dune, while on the south side the building emerges from the dune, thereby optimising views out and the entry of natural light. As a result the building will have three characteristic sides: 1. the dune on the north side where building and landscape merge, 2. the south side where the building with its distinct volumes becomes clearly visible from the Suurhoff Bridge, 3. the elegantly curved facade on the square side where in an accessible and logical manner the entrance of the building is positioned.

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Cut out in dune
Also in the interior the dune is visible in a dynamic way and forms part of the work environment.
An elongated and organising atrium space is cut out from the man made dune, full of light and with constantly changing dimensions by the undulating cutting edge to the dune side. The wall on the cutting edge is covered with timber slats that differ in color and size, and evoke an association with geological layers; a reference to the business activities of BP RR. The extensive use of natural materials like wood, concrete and natural stone, again emphasise the ‘nature’ and robustness of the core business activities of the company

Meeting rooms as ‘sky-boxes’
The atrium is flanked by two parallel office wings. Office floors, each linked by bridges, are in open connection with each other and the atrium space. Meetings take place in box-shaped volumes, pushed into the atrium as ‘sky-boxes’.  The entire BP RR organisation operates in one open space according to ‘The New World of Work’ principles, resulting in an interactive environment that encourages communication, collaboration and creativity amongst staff. All visible and tangible qualities of the building fit in seamlessly with the core values of BP Rotterdam Refinery: the pursuit of an attractive workplace where both young and senior professionals can meet. The final result is a working environment  whereby landscape, building and interior fully blend and literally flow into one another.

Sustainability
A sustainable office building has been realized for BP Rotterdam Refinery (BP RR) with relatively ‘low tech’ means, by utilizing both the full physical potential of building- and landscape components, as well as an intelligent spatial design.

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Key aspects of sustainable approach:

Accumulating capacity
Almost all of the building concrete structures are fully exposed, allowing the mass of the concrete to inhibit temperature fluctuations. The extremes in temperature gradient will be the times when energy consumption of an office building is at its highest levels. Consequently a natural steady temperature reduces energy consumption and requires much smaller plant facilities.
An additional ‘sustainable’ advantage of the fully exposed concrete structures is the substantial reduction in finishing building materials.

Excellent insulation
As a result of the adjacent, partly embracing man-made dune and substantial ‘green’ roof package, the BP RR office building is extremely well insulated. The ‘green’ roof itself already has a Rc-value of 8+.

Smart façade design
The façade gradually changes from predominantly transparent components to less transparent ones, following their orientation from north to south. In addition external sunscreens have been applied which project substantially on the south-side and gradually disappear towards the north-side; a proven and still very effective application optimising the balance between cutting out sun heat, and allowing the maximum of daylight into the offices.

Reduced sqm’s per employee
The interior design has focussed on optimising the Open Office concept in order to reduce sqm’s per employee and consequently minimising the overall building floor area, without losing the envisaged human qualities of the office environment. In this case a smaller and efficient building clearly means again less energy consumption.

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