OTH Architects | Zuid Holland County House – A 2016 Design Is…Award Market Winner


Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.

Meandering.

How does this project demonstrate design impact?

The boldly curved architectural design of the 5-storey building for the provincial government of South Holland inspired to implement a meandering interior design as well. The client’s objectives were to connect the different building parts and create a merged activity based working concept. Functions are scattered across the floors in a carefully zoned activity based working concept, facilitating all types of work. The different activities are strung together by a meandering pattern in the flooring, loosely following the long corridor through the building. At strategic places it creates room for meeting, team spaces, facility corners, etc. Because the carpet is also in the elevator cores, building parts that used to be separated from each other,are now connected. All together the floor pattern forms a long and winding, but very varied road, leading along different worlds in the organization.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

The journey we travelled with our client, the provincial government of South Holland, is still going on. At this moment we are working on the complete redesign of the monumental part of the complex. Off course we jointly aim for a result as successful as the refurbishment of the meandering office building, we are now nominated for. The journey with the client so far has been a pleasant one. To implement an activity based working concept in the long and meandering building has been a challenge for both us, the client and the users. Province employees, who were used to have their own room, were prepared for their future housing by letting them participate in the design process. Each floor for example features a special kind of workplace, like a stand or a scrum room, that is designed according the wishes of the employees on that particular floor. We strongly believe a design can only work if it users are able to lay hold on the spaces that surround them.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

As already told, the long and meandering floorplans challenged us to get the best out of ourselves. In this project we especially learned about the importance of zoning the office floors. We created zoning concept with working areas, extending from dynamic to silent. Also acoustics has been a true challenge. We managed to create a pleasant working environment by using carpet tiles and vertical blinds, made of felt.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

Flexibility is a real issue in the design. People should be able to create the space they need for a specific activity. The felt blinds that characterize the interior design are movable, so users can decide for themselves how private or open they want to work. Also sustainability was important, especially in choosing materials. Shaw carpet tiles, as the basis for our design, proved not only to be beautiful, but also very durable.

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