State Office 'de Knoop'

Designed by: Fokkema & Partners Architecten
For client: R creators (A consortium of Strukton, Ballast Nedam and Facilicom) Floor area: 30.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Governmental Interior of the Year

Public Score
7.82 Function
7.59 Innovation
7.73 Creativity
B 5
© Lucas van der Wee

Restaurant and informal meeting space for use throughout the day. With 2 speciality counters called Market and Harvest, which solely sell products from the area.

About the Project

The former ‘Luitenant Generaal Knoop Kazerne’ in Utrecht has been transformed into contemporary Government Office ‘de Knoop’ with additional representation as a central meeting hub for all Dutch Central Government Ministries.

Voids, balconies and staircases make a continuous sequence of spaces in the new Government Office building that was created in collaboration with Cepezed and Rijnboutt. The interior offers a customer journey which centers on users’ needs. This ranges from the open, buzzing environment at arrival, to the restaurant the break-out areas and social hubs, and which becomes increasingly more personal towards the working domains, with the workplaces and small meeting areas.

Trees and plants are integrated in the design, while views of the city’s landmarks provide orientation. In the conference center, the open areas which are defined along the voids and staircases, can house up to 300 people to informally connect before and after meetings. The anchor points in the working domains are connected like a string of pearls in a necklace, each slightly different in order to do justice to the representation of the various users. The integration of art and every detail up to the graphics of the wayfinding was designed with a meticulous passion to create a truly integrated design.

What’s unique about it

A sturdy introvert structure was transformed into a perfect example of the 21st century working hub, introducing voids, stairs and a big atrium.
Oftentimes eighties buildings get destroyed because of the limited ceiling heights, poor build quality and closed character. With the adding of voids and staircases a new found spaciousness was created with far reaching sightlines and open floors. The connection of voids to a new atrium gave the formally introvert building an extrovert feeling while the transparent and fresh identity of the interior also seamlessly connects it to a new building part.

The old structure with its characteristic columns is now an asset, and by designing a special climate system, ample height is ensured in the office areas. Details like the exposed raw concrete against the smooth glass surface of the new elements and facade, emphasize the fluid merge between old and new. The materialisation scheme was kept simple, the cool concrete of the existing building is contrasted with warm hues of wood and fabrics, never compromising on transparency.

Although the Programme of Demands consisted of 21014 requirements - relating to functionality, safety, acoustics, climate, sustainability and aesthetics - the team managed to realise the extremely high ambitions while creating the most comfortable and welcoming working environment. According to ‘Centre for People and Buildings’ it is one of the most appreciated Dutch Government Office Buildings to work in.

B 10
© Lucas van der Wee

A night view on the voids (turned balconies) inserted in the old structure where the main Working Domains are situated.

B 9
© Lucas van der Wee

Small bar areas in the conference centre housing a 100 people each. The bar areas are interconnected with use of voids and stairs.

B 8
© Lucas van der Wee

Conference centre, small meeting room, especially made for a ‘quick’ meeting, thus the high table and high stools.

B 7
© Lucas van der Wee

A balcony adjacent to the atrium made to be a meeting area in the Conference centre (1.700 seats). This balcony which can easily house 300 people.

B 6
© Lucas van der Wee

The restaurant has a diverse variety of seating, heigh, low, soft, spartan etc.

B 3 1
© Lucas van der Wee

Working domain with void and stair connection, featuring a lush green wall.

B 2
© Lucas van der Wee

Working domain with special climate solution assuring an extra high ceiling.

B 1
© Lucas van der Wee

New atrium, the connection between the Conference Centre and the Working Domains. Above the coffee bar the artwork of studio Drift: moving birds, a reference to the big bird clouds above the city of Utrecht in spring and fall.

A Header
© Lucas van der Wee

Informal meeting area close to the restaurant, can also be used as the overflow of the restaurant. The buildings original column forms a stark contrast with the wooden walls. Graphics on the walls are designed to be a part of the building.

Fokkema & Partners Architecten.


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