GROUP A has made a design proposal for the Mariendaal Centre of Excellence, an office building in Arnhems Buiten. This office building will be rented to TenneT, the national electricity network administrator, as their new headquarters. The Mariendaal Center of Excellence is a new office concept that has been developed as part of the overall vision for the Business Park Arnhem. This vision was also developed by GROUP A, together with H + N + S landscape architects. Mariendaal borders the main thoroughfare, the Utrechtseweg, making it a prominent location within the Business Park.
The building, by GROUP A, and the landscape, by H+N+S, are both parts of the same design. Mariendaal can be regarded as a “Belvedere”: the building uses the existing landscaping and strengthens the open spaces, views and green borders surrounding it. The edge of the Veluwe functions as a backdrop for the building, and provides the guidelines to its’ height. It adapts to the wooded hills west of Arnhem. The organically shaped square with four floors does not reach above the tree line. Nature runs between the columns in the courtyard of the building and is visible from the glass plinth.
The main building volume has an all-round orientation, is devoid of sharp edges, and as horizontally articulated as possible. The predominantly transparent plinth acts as a transition between the landscape and the building, and follows the natural slope of the landscape. The entrance is located amidst the woodlands to the northwest of the building. The sloping character of the site means that is possible to use a double building height for a part of the plinth. At the same time, the design ensures that the building becomes embedded in the landscape.
The spatial layout is strengthened by the buildings program. The concept for a ground-floor plaza, housing representative functions like the entrance, a café, a restaurant, an auditorium and meeting rooms, improves the buildings accessibility within the landscape; additionally, it provides for formal and informal interaction and communication. Additional program, like the kitchen, expedition and a two-layer parking lot, is located underground.
The upper floors house offices and support facilities, divided in units from 500 to 1000 sqm. Large windows ensure that the daylight can enter deep inside the offices; additionally, a number of full glass windows on every single office floor provide for exceptional views.