Dezeen Magazine

UN Studio designs HQ to be like a "lively neighbourhood"

A network of staircases, bridges and galleries are designed to foster collaboration and social interaction at the headquarters of website in Amsterdam, which was designed by UN Studio.

The design of the 65,000-square-metre City Campus, which was awarded to UN Studio following an invited competition in 2015, unites several separate offices across the city under one roof.

Located alongside the central station, the campus was designed to be a "reflection of Amsterdam", overlooking the harbour through an almost fully glazed exterior which wraps a full-height, skylit atrium at the building's centre.

Elevation of by UN Studio
UN Studio has created the headquarters of travel platform

"We wanted the overall concept for the building to serve as a reflection of Amsterdam – its location and the Dutch travel company's base since its inception," UN Studio co-founder Ben van Berkel explained.

"The architecture therefore combines the robust qualities and the industrial history of the harbour, with glazed detailing that reduces the overall immenseness of the building and gently reflects the glistening of the water and sky."

"The organisation of the interior meanwhile, is designed to charcterise the vibrancy of Amsterdam's lively central neigbourhoods,” he continued.

Glazed facade of HQ in Amsterdam
It has an almost fully glazed exterior

Entering from the lower harbour-side entrance, escalators and lifts lead up into the central atrium of the campus, which sits above a plinth containing four basement levels of car parking, storage and meeting spaces.

The interior design of the project, which was led by local architecture and interiors studio HofmanDujardin, drew on the informality and chance encounters of town squares.

The atrium was dotted with several amenity spaces for employees, including break-out spaces themed around holiday destinations and a cafe, overlooked by glazed balconies that wrap each floor above.

As well as providing a focal point and social space for employees, this atrium ensures that the surrounding office floor plates are all well-lit and ventilated.

Atrium of office in Amsterdam
It is designed to be a "lively neighbourhood"

"The architecture nudges employees to move by fostering engaging environments and by encouraging physical movement by use of stairs, bridges and galleries across all levels, including the rooftop," explained UN Studio.

"Even the emergency staircases become part of this concept, as untypically these are glazed along the atrium side, which not only encourages daily use, but also offers light views from the stairs and visibility from the other spaces in the building."

Staircase inside of office by UN Studio
Stairs, bridges and galleries are incorporated across all levels

Pale wood cladding and areas of planting define the social spaces of the campus, organised around the large white columns of the building's structure.

Nearby, Dutch studio Werk recently completed an underwater bicycle parking garage next to Amsterdam's central station, providing space for 7,000 bikes submerged nine metres below the ground.

The photography is by Hufton + Crow.

More images and plans

Section of by UN Studio
Interior of by UN Studio
Exterior of by UN Studio
Exterior of by UN Studio
Interior of by UN Studio
Interior of by UN Studio
Interior of by UN Studio
Interior of by UN Studio