De Key HQ

Dutch housing corporation De Key commissioned Studioninedots to transform its existing Amsterdam office into a sustainable, future-proof headquarters with a variety of shared and flexible (work)spaces. De Key’s ambition was to strengthen its identity by efficiently consolidating its two offices into the existing premises at Hoogte Kadijk, and improve the building’s connection with the neighbourhood.

Reflecting De Key’s ambitions, the theme of connection became the starting point for the design – connecting people, connecting the buildings and connecting to the neighbourhood. The three existing structures will be retained and renovated, and linked internally and externally with a series of smart interventions. Central to the project is an open ground floor that hosts the collective social programme. Here a series of lively interconnected spaces – the restaurant, shared space beside Hoogte Kadijk and the Werklab  – flow openly around a lush inner garden. The full-height transparent facades invite contact with the street.

The office layout is designed to stimulate social interaction and flexible ways of working. At its heart is the green atrium with an open staircase around which the communal areas are organised. The use of natural materials, transparency and plentiful daylight and greenery promotes an atmosphere of wellbeing.

The concept of connection is the guiding principle of the design: connecting the existing buildings, connecting people and connecting to the neighbourhood.

Creating a sense of transparency was integral to creating a friendly appearance for the building to the neighbourhood. The building functions like a lively mini city, with a variety of characteristic spaces and atmospheres, diverse functions and users, an intense use of space and a clear identity in its surroundings.

Opening up the ground floor spaces and the office areas links the varying programmes and users, and unites the three separate building elements.

The ground floor comprises a dynamic open landscape of interconnected spaces that invite different ways of working and meeting, and visual exchange with the street. Flexible (work)spaces facilitate diverse programmes and users, and promote greater efficiency by accommodating more people in the same buildings.

New internal and external interventions underline the guiding themes of connection and transparency.

At street level, a continuous concrete framework – either open or in-filled with glass – binds the three buildings and the courtyard like a winding ribbon. The frames were inspired by arched elements from the surrounding buildings.

The lush central garden functions as a green extension of the restaurant and the open Werklab, and is visible from the Nieuwe Vaart canal. Rising through the green atrium is an open, double staircase with split-level landings which double as shortcuts and informal areas for colleagues to meet. With its full height windows, the atrium also appears as an eye-catcher from the street.

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