More than 50 years after its opening in 1968, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has become technically dated and unsustainable. Our multidisciplinary design team sought solutions for the transformation of the building that respect and enhance the original design, while meeting very high sustainability ambitions. The public area design is enhanced by moving the bank’s gold stock to a new vault outside the city and creating 5,000 m2 of public space. Sawn right through the huge concrete vault, the new imposing building entrance creates an arrival experience.
The transformed vault with a golden finish and surrounded by voids will create a free-standing theatrical space. An exhibition of the numismatic collection will be located where the gold stock used to be. A new auditorium will offer space for both visitors and employees. Adjacent to the inner garden will be a transparent atrium with stairs connecting the floors of the low-rise building. A cylindrical sculptural staircase connecting the second and third floors is inspired by the existing concrete staircase that is once again given a prominent function.
The information and meeting centre located on the first and second floors is designed as a modern library with long reading tables, meeting areas, concentration areas, meeting rooms and spaces for lectures and presentations. About half of the 1800 employees have their office in the tower that is being renovated. By moving the installations to the basement, a spectacular floor with a roof terrace and panoramic view is created for all kinds of events.
The publicly accessible courtyard, the vegetable garden, green roofs and the garden on the 3rd floor, as well as the future transformation of Frederiksplein into Frederikspark, contribute to a unified public realm with a strong identity. Mecanoo’s vision for the Frederikspark with lots of greenery, meandering footpaths and natural seating areas increases biodiversity. The design removes security fences and now features a transparent plinth. The hard-to-find entrance on the west side will be relocated to a prominent position on Frederiksplein.
The greenery surrounds the building and continues to the Singelgracht, where people can sit on a jetty and watch boats sail by. On this sunny side, the car park under the building makes way for a spacious and bright staff restaurant. The enclosed courtyard will be redesigned as a green, public garden where part of the bank’s art collection can be seen. The renovated DNB targets BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum certifications. Our approach to achieving this includes insulating the tower to a high standard via a ventilated double glass facade with external sun protection. A waste heat recovery system ventilates the building. Solar panels on the roof cover part of the electricity need.
The energy consumption and CO2 emissions were reduced by more than 80%. The design creates a working environment that prioritises health and wellbeing. Every workplace has been upgraded to have daylight, openable windows and a view to the outside. Integrating indoor plants contributes to air quality, physical and mental health, mood, productivity and comfort.