Creative ValleyEdit profile
Creative Valley in Utrecht (the Netherlands) is a repeatedly nominated office building that defies all current conventions: it was built during a deep recession, and stayed within budget. Costs were dealt with intelligently during construction, but no concessions were made on high-quality materials or sustainability. And contrary to all the vacancy figures, within three months after delivery it was fully occupied. The appeal of Creative Valley is that people feel completely at home immediately on entering and they experience an ‘open energy’. In 2011 Creative Valley was awarded with the prestigious Rietveldprice in both categories.
The basic idea of Creative Valley is a building for companies that want to work innovatively. Many Cultural Creatives work at these companies. These are critical people who want a better living / working environment and who have a very good idea of what is real and sustainable. So we kept a few things in mind: sustainability, no concessions on quality (despite the recession) and building according to the sum of the parts. In other words, we needed to produce a sustainable multi-talented building for multiple companies, each with its own identity yet sharing a certain number of facilities and contacts. This would be an environment in which accommodation and business are merged.
The first sketch of Creative Valley – a scribble on half an A4 sized sheet – was a building on the principle of a tree with branches and leaves. The trunk provides stability and nutrition, enabling the branches and leaves to grow and bloom. The architecture of Creative Valley was literally inspired by this natural structure. It has an enclosed midsection with heavy structural elements and materials in monolithic material. Boxes are suspended from the midsection that defy gravity and offer maximum views by means of layered glass façades.
The midsection – the trunk – is the nerve centre of the building. It is accessible to all, with public and privileged spaces. The public spaces are the organic restaurant, the patios, the pantries for coffee and tea, reading tables, quiet areas, lounge, foyer and the public work and meeting places. Many contacts arise there naturally between the various users, as in the kitchen of a home.The privileged spaces are managed by a single user and accessible to occupants and business from the outside in exchange for payment. The building itself provides fantastic boardrooms with a view of the A2 highway. This shared way of doing business is an important and reinforcing principle of the work environment as an ecosystem. The boxes are suspended like floating ribs from the spine of the building. They are maximally transparent. The view split by horizontally placed metal façade features, offering tiered vistas. You therefor have unobstructed views and optimal visual contact with the neighbours. These are the private spaces, to be configured by the various tenants according to their own taste and function. And these are large, freely configurable floor areas from 127m2 to 320m2 with high ceilings. Occupants can regulate and control the light and climate as they wish.