Although its name comes from the phrase ‘end yards’ due to its location – that section of North Brabant is closer to modern-day Belgium and the German border than it is to the Dutch capital – Eindhoven could as well be called Phoenix: the city that Philips built has risen from the empty carcasses that the electronics corporation left when it moved its global headquarters to Amsterdam in 2001.
Some former factories have become retail and studio spaces – see the Strijp-S. Others have become cultural centres – see the Natlab, where the CD was born. Others have become schools – De Witte Dame hosts the Design Academy Eindhoven – and even residential spaces – the Victoriapark complex is one of the most recent examples. But others are paying direct homage to the city’s R&D heritage – that is the case of the Innovation Powerhouse, a new multi-tenant office building in the Strijp-T designed by Atelier van Berlo, Eugelink Architectuur and De Bever Architecten.
For the first tenant, the Van Berlo agency, the Rotterdam-based architecture firm wanted to provide a physical place where coworkers, clients and partners could meet up to collaborate and co-create. ‘Every space is created with care for their purpose, and is connected through layout, use of materials, technology, colour, typography and signage,’ explained architect Janne van Berlo. ‘Together they create an atmosphere where creativity can thrive.’
The showstopper in this former power plant is the heart of the office, a spacious atrium meant for multifunctional use: a heightened wooden plateau creates intimacy for informal workspaces, while the large stairs double as a presentation theater. Because collaboration is the core purpose of the space, the area is not only open to clients and partners, but it’s also used to host public events. ‘We believe that the most brilliant innovations are generated by crossovers between disciplines,’ stated Van Berlo’s CEO, Thomas Paulen.
But of course, as an innovation facility, private workspaces are also needed. The architecture firm created design studios and nooks behind glass walls, an electronics workshop for proof of concepts and a large confidential workshop called The Experience Lab.
But even with the industrial past of the venue – the architects integrated old elements of the power plant into the design, such as the reception desk – and the focus on open working spaces, the new headquarters of the van Berlo agency feel warm and intimate. The key was to use high-quality finishes on construction wood, along with soft colours and custom lighting, such as the lamps created by Alex de Witte. ‘By doing this, we brought together the two worlds: the philosophy of Van Berlo and the beauty of the original architecture of the TR Building,’ added Paulen.
Designed by Atelier van Berlo, Eugelink Architectuur and De Bever Architecten
Photography by Tycho Merijn