Amsterdam – At the time of its completion in 1973, Amsterdam’s Rivierstaete building – designed by Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant – was the largest office complex in Europe at a prodigious 30,000 sq-m. Situated on the banks of the Amstel River, the building sits like stacked boxes – and, before a large-scale renovation began in 2014, it had sat vacant for some time.
In the span of five years, the building has come alive again as a workplace, now renamed as Amsteldok campus. WPP, a British multinational advertising and public relations company, decided to move in in 2016. Now, 19,000 sq-m of the space support 1,500 employees, bringing together 15 WPP agencies from 11 different locations.
The move-in is a chess play in WPP’s co-location scheme, which brings together its main management office in London and executive office in Dublin. So BDG Architecture + Design – too of the English capital – was briefed to create a dynamic workplace that would prove tenable for the current and future aspirations of the company. Bearing in mind that the office occupies 40 per cent of WPP’s spaces, it was essential that it serve as a unifier for the people within.
So BDG replaced white mosaic tiles that had once engulfed the exterior façade of the building with floor-to-ceiling windows evoking a sense of transparency. Inside, a sparse structural grid with a raw, industrial feel evident of BDG’s design ethos is enveloped by natural light, prompting free movement and flexibility. The original concrete structure was kept as to retain the character of the building, but roofs at varying heights were transformed into terraces for employees and guests, connecting the indoors and out.
‘The WPP campus strategy represents our simplified offer to clients by bringing agencies together under one roof and providing easier access to our collective talent,' said WPP’s CEO, Mark Read. ‘It encourages closer working and is an important part of helping to build an open and optimistic culture.’