NAVIGANT UTRECHT


The Dutch company Ecofys was acquired by the American company Navigant at the end of 2016 to jointly benefit from the global energy transformation. Navigant is a business service provider active in consultancy in the field of energy and sustainability. With the acquisition, Navigant will establish a foothold in continental Europe. Reason enough to establish itself centrally in the brand new sustainable building (WELL and BREEAM Excellent certified) World Trade Centre, right next to Utrecht Central Station. In the architectural eye-catcher Navigant has established itself on the 15th floor, with a beautiful and panoramic view over Utrecht and surroundings. ZENBER architects were asked to create a working environment that blends with the architecture and fits the mentality and sustainability vision of the organization.

Ambition

The ambition was to create a representative and vitalizing work environment that stimulates cooperation and meeting to the maximum. Although it is an American takeover, there is also a need for a local (Dutch) way of working. This is reflected, among other things, in the efficient use of the number of square metres available, with the introduction of flexible working (no fixed workstations) and the multifunctional use of various spaces. A balanced mix of open work areas was sought, alternating with closed consultation and concentration/skype rooms and informal consultation possibilities. But also to a flexible layout, to allow for possible growth in the future.
In order to guarantee the beautiful view, we strived for maximum transparency and openness, so that everyone is visible to each other at the same time.
As a sustainability service provider there was a strong desire to express the sustainability aspect in the materialization (as much as possible according to the BREEAM standards), but with a modest character.

“Cooperation between employees central.”

Vibrant work café vs calm work zone

The footprint of the WTC is characterized by a facility center, with a spacious open work floor around it and a sloping dynamic facade line. There is maximum view to all sides. ZENBER architecten has opted for a clear zoning between a dynamic area, where meeting, consultation and cooperation between employees is central. This zone is oriented towards the lively station area and the Jaarbeursplein. On the other side of the floor there is a zone where it is all about working in peace, silence and focus.

Wooden core with awning and office facilities

To fit in with the architecture, it was decided to thicken the facility centre core, with supporting spaces such as archives, repro, storage, pantry, lockers and skype niches. The design of these expansions responds to the dynamic lines of the facade and is further emphasized by a flared canopy.
Upon entering, visitors and employees are immediately welcomed warmly in an open and lively work café with a large bar with good coffee, various seating areas under hanging gardens and work lounges. Around the work café are various meeting, conference and project rooms, each with its own character. The extreme corners of the work café are surprisingly decorated with a large stand for stand up meetings, with a beautiful view over the commuter flows of the station. And a semi open egg-shaped brainstorm room, which is particularly finished with felt cloths that offers space for magazines, leaflets etc.
The sloping core with canopy guides you further on to the work floor. Where open flexible workplaces are pleasantly interrupted with cupboards and plant frames. There are also a number of small meeting rooms on the work floor with adjoining skype/concentration areas for foreign calls. The Skype rooms are characterised by a high worktop and felt walls in which the Navigant logo is subtly incorporated and at the same time provides pleasant acoustics. On the places where the glass in the facade sinks down are work lounges situated, which make it possible to work together with a view over the city. The work floor has a varied range of different types of workstations.

A sustainable, responsible and modest character

For the materialization, a friendly and timeless base of warm grey tones on the floors (C2C silver carpet) was chosen. The glass facades of the enclosed spaces fit in with the architecture but are also distinguished by the horizontal lines, creating a graphic interplay of lines. The thickened middle core is accentuated with solid oak vertical slats (FSC certified and finished with natural oil) that change into a fanning out canopy. The slats have various sizes and thicknesses and are alternated with lighting profiles, creating a playful and dynamic rhythm. This powerful intervention in wooden finishing is a warm and natural addition to the interior.
Various carpet surfaces (made of econyl yarn) have been applied in the floor in blue-green and ochre-yellow shades, which change colour nuance into a tactile texture wallpaper in the consultation rooms and inlaid wool felt in the sky rooms.

Natural and ecological materials and finishes

A unique ecological material was chosen for the custom-made furniture: Richlite, in the colour black. This material consists of layers of recycled paper, creating an extremely strong plate. The material has a matte lively appearance, which over time will become deeper and deeper in color. The steel profiles used in combination with the Richlite, for the hanging gardens and plant frames among others, are finished with natural beeswax, which enhances the raw blue-coloured character of the steel.
The loose furniture and the additional lighting are carefully matched to the colours of the interior. Here too, as far as possible, furniture with a sustainable background has been chosen, such as desks from a circular line, C2C ergonomic office chairs and meeting chairs from PET felt.

Hanging gardens for a green and healthy working environment

Planting has played an important role in the design right from the start of the process, to contribute to a positive work experience and because of its air-purifying function. There is much diversity in green applied throughout the office environment, from round hanging gardens that make room in the work café, integrated planters at the coffee bar, to spot separating plant frames in the work area.
Finally, the choice was made to subtly reflect the identity of the organization in the interior with specially designed signage by ZENBER Architects that is executed in a black glossy foil that contrasts with the matt black surfaces.

All this results in a carefully matched timeless and vitalizing interior with a maximum use of sustainable materials (BREEAM Excellent and WELL), which makes a positive contribution to the health and well-being of the users.

FACTS EN FIGURES

Client: Navigant Consultancy America
Location:  Utrecht
GFA: 2.000 m²
Completion: 2018

Project team ZENBER: Eric Wezenberg, Carlien den Uijl, Helma Teernstra, Ingrid Heijne
Building architect: MVSA Architecten
Building consultancy: Cushman & Wakefield
Installation consultant: Vintis installatieadviseurs B.V.

Contractor interior: Kubus Onderhoud & Montagediensten B.V.
Interior finisher: Van Assem Interieurbouw B.V.
Lighting plan: ZENBER Architecten
Graphic design: ZENBER Architecten
Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode