From the day Vakwerk Architecten started, they had a clear vision for their future office. Once they stumbled upon an old boiler house, once the main source of energy for the Delft University of Technology, they were set on transforming it into a dynamic co-working space that would form a link between the center of Delft and the university campus. The transformed space was to become an inspiring home for both their own company and local entrepreneurs. Sustainability was the main principle achieved by respecting its industrial character, the reuse of materials, and making the building as energy efficient as possible. The Vakwerkhuis is now a vibrant community, once again buzzing with energy!
The old boiler house, or Ketelhuis, has been renamed the Vakwerkhuis – Dutch for half-timbered house and a play on the company name – and is now an inspiring place to work and collaborate; a real ‘co-working space 2.0’. The building houses over one hundred workspaces and eight meeting rooms, each with its own distinct character and used by both co-workers and visitors. During the day, the Vakwerkhuis is busy with co-workers and visitors of the café, and in the evenings and weekends it fills up for debates, parties, courses, music or yoga.
The 100-year-old listed building consists of several halls that previously housed boilers and generators and is marked by its free-standing old chimney. New stairs, galleries, and internal bay windows have interlinked these spaces. The building’s character is emphasized through several interventions, such as adding openings to create new views and increase transparency and enriching the interior with fixed elements executed in glass and red industrial steel or solid oak cladding, as a contrast to the existing brick and steel. Large pieces are placed freely, such as the café bar and the timber mezzanine ‘Eagles Nest’ within the monumental old hall. The addition of the glazed entrance and the charred timber roof extension visually mark the regeneration of the building.
Considering its age, the building had already proven itself as a sustainable structure. Yet, there was still a lot to improve. Vakwerk Architecten consistently followed a functional approach that focused on the form and use of each space. The emphasis was on finding the balance between the necessary modifications while keeping the existing architecture and enhancing the building’s inherent character. With a few precise interventions – such as implementing new concrete floors with a heat pump-generated heating and cooling system, renewing old windows with double-glazed ones, and insulating the iconic roof structure, the energy performance of the building was raised to contemporary standards.
The design was very much driven by circularity: maximum use was made of existing materials and objects. Materials were salvaged from other buildings, such as the wooden trusses in the extension that were taken from an old hangar. The timber herringbone floors, beams, oak finishes, and furniture were sourced from salvage websites, contributing to circularity and the green economy.
Architects: Vakwerk Architecten
Area : 1200 m²
Year : 2020
Photographs :Menno Emmink, Peter de Krom, Boudewijn Bollmann
Manufacturers : Ferm Living, iGuzzini, Gispen, Groene Vingers, HAY, LeenBakker, Moooi, Prooff, Seletti, Tiptoe, Tolomeo, Wever Ducre
Lead Architect : Paul Ketelaars
Structural Engineers : Strijbos
Lighting Consutlant : Deerns
Engineering Team : LBP Sight
General Contractors : Pools Aannemersbedrijf, Schoop Elektrotechniek, Van Iersel Installatiebedrijf, Hermeta Geveltechniek, de Graaf Klimaatechniek, DH Restauratie, Retail & Home Techniek
Project Leader : Rikkert van Bellen
Site Manager : Joost Pauwelussen
Interior Architect : Marloes Pieper
Technical Architect : Tim van Beurden, Peter Batenburg
Conservation : RAB
Development Partners : Coup Urban Producers
Building Installations : OverDeVest
Wall Artwork : Zenk One
City : Delft
Country : The Netherlands