Alphabet Building by MVRDV


Alphabet Building by MVRDV

Dutch architects MVRDV have designed this creative industries office block in Amsterdam that has letters of the alphabet cut out of the facade.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

Each cut-out is the window to an office unit and each letter signifies the address extension for the occupying business.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

On the east facade of the Alphabet Building a series of dotted windows spell out the number 52, relating to the address.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

All letters of the alphabet have been used apart from I and Q. The original design included Q (as shown in top image) but was later replaced by Z .

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

The project is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

More projects by MVRDV on Dezeen »

The following details are from MVRDV:

Alphabet Building Amsterdam

MVRDV designs creative industry hub

Amsterdam based project development corporation NIC started sale of the MVRDV designed Alphabet building. In Amsterdam small and mid-size creative companies have trouble finding suitable office space. The Alphabet building communicates through a clear exterior design which reveals on the East façade the house number and at the main façade its extension for each company, a letter of the alphabet. The interior is highly flexible and completed with a rough and pure finishing. The 3200m2 creative industry building will be completed in 2012 according to high energy efficiency standards.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

  • On the East facade the house number, on the front facade its extension.

The creative industry has seemingly unrealistic demands when it comes to office locations: a incubator of creative ideas which is spacious and inspiring with a differentiating design at a great location with car access. The Alphabet building in the Amsterdam port refurbishment Minervahaven unites all these qualities. The former port is currently refurbished to become a creative hub.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

  • Behind each letter is a flexible office unit

The building is on a relatively small site of 30 x 30 meters and consists of a transparent plinth with a compact office block on top. Behind each letter of the façade the building offers a flexible unit of 128m2, the units can be sold independently or as a series of letters. Design studio Thonik will occupy the top floor or the letters A to F. As it was impossible to put the entire alphabet on the façade the letters I and Q are missing: the IQ is inside the building.

Alphabet Building by MVRDV

  • Interior finishings are concrete, aluminium and steel

The interior finishing follows the demand of creative companies, large loft like spaces with a rough finishing: no double ceilings, exposed materials such as concrete, aluminium and steel. A number of sustainable technologies give the building an excellent energy profile. Parking is located inside the plinth, circulation and spacious outside areas at the back of the building.

  • reinierdejong

    Wow, architecture for kids!

    • ivan

      and no IQ…lol

    • E…

      I thougt it was a design for a schoolbuilding? ;-)

  • So the building lacks IQ, eh? Talk about honest design :P

  • thats so original and cool! I like this idea!

  • Ummmm

    Very nice, color combination… all simple and practical, a design that lasts.

  • Dunan

    STUPID!! about "IQ".. so what!?
    it is not interesting at all, let's speak about the real design.
    So sad that they are not critical to what they are doing anymore.

  • Lex

    looks like someone had an old charrette design that was waiting to be used. they're capable of much better.

  • James

    Oh NO! No no no no no.

  • Perrine Montfort

    is this a joke ?

  • Marisela Monagas

    Me parece muy adecuado el emplazamiento con el entorno, asi como la integración volumetrica del edificio, con la incorporación de esa ludica respuesta en su fachada… Un d iseño simpatico donde la claridad y la sencillez nos despiertan

  • ivan

    they could have used the "i" and the "q" and the two last letters – "x" and "y" – as a nice access on groundfloor…don´t like when something is almost cool…

  • cacas

    MVRDV use to be an very high level concept. This is fool. Lets work a little more guys. Sory …and my respect. You have amazing projects. I visited some of them… realy recomend!

  • Any concept has value if you push the idea. For instance, why not a sliding puzzle facade of screens, each with a letter. The creatives could move them all over and people across the bay could forever be searching for words in a never ending 'word search puzzle'. Otherwise this is just lame.

    • Sea Bass

      Now that would be an interesting idea!!!! You've taken their (lame) idea and actually given it a sense of fun and purpose!!! At night different letters could be illuminated… to spell out messages related to issues at hand (ie: NO WAR….ART SHOW…. etc).

  • fail

    so…on the night render I and Z is missing. And on the day render I and Q is missing. how is this acceptable for an alphabet building?

  • fountainhead

    al least, these infantile letter-windows look replaceable.


    and what about the Z ?
    Zorro is going mental..

  • samuel

    Are you serious?

  • Apperently there's no "i" @ mvrdv…

  • PATO

    lol, MVRDV makes me laugh

  • Tom

    No IQ? On the image there is an Q, but no Z

  • Dustin

    Yes, the building lacks IQ, but not because of the facade, if you look at the facade it is actually missing the I and the Z, not the Q. What a dumb building. The interiors are completely horrible, they don't look that bad because of the renders but once it is made it will have nothing different than any other depressing office building. And the facade.. well, so much for an interesting building, talk about a one liner. This building is just another box office building with a decorative facade that doesn't even make sense, couldn't the designers at least make enough slots for the whole alphabet? or at the very least, at least get their letters correct?

  • piet

    there is an 'i' I think because it's common in dutch to write 'ij' in one mark…

  • NSH

    gimmick.gimmick, gimmick………

  • Where's the I? Oh my…

  • with a tear in my eye I remember MVRDV's good times and will no look for the 1990-something 'el croquis' in my bookshelf to reboot my mind

  • kgt

    Where's the Z?

  • Jan

    Good to know that we still have the ability to provoke…

    Kind regards from MVRDV !

    • Rocket Valentino

      Well, this building is unfortunately provoking in terms of 'pointless and stupid' in stead of 'challenging and avantgarde'.

      The fact that no plans or sections are presented and the general level of architectural refinement makes my suspect that is in fact a publicity stunt and joke.

  • Sea Bass

    Maybe they could have omitted the letters Y-A-W-N

  • pim

    abut the missing letters:
    i think – but i am not sure- that according to Duch legislation certain letters cannot b used in an address: you can live at number 54b, but not at 54i, for instance (because in handwriting the i and the j might get mixed up easily). Since these letters are referring to the actual address of the company that is behind that particular window, it makes sense that certain some letters are missing.

    But that is no reason for inconsistency like showing a z in one rendering and an y in the other.

  • Fizz

    It seems entirely rational to me that an Alphabet building is designed by a practice called MVRDV and developed by a corporation named NIC. It's logical to the letter. Seriously, the fact that most of the debate here is about the missing letters rather than any architectural merit present says it all.

  • Simon

    I'm pretty sure, If I pinned this up for my final crit I would have been told to leave the course with immediate effect.

    • filip

      That is because you have to prove yourself on small scale. But, on large scale, especially in context like this, you might to ask yourself if it is necessary to produce a masterpiece, or just produce. Maybe it's just me, but I see the funny simple point of view on that matter in this building.

  • confused man

    I’m so confused. How can there be two different pictures with every letter moving one space after the Q or Z. Did they remodel the whole building to just adjust each letter by one?