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Office Complex Westraven – Utrecht, The Netherlands:

two years on Interview by Jonathan Ellis

An interview with Ronald Schleurholts, architect of the Westraven Office Building for RWS, the Dutch Directorate of Public Works and Water Management

The former Westraven Tower in Utrecht held few charms for the people working in it. Sombre, small rooms shut off from contact with others, depressing. It was a challenge for Ronald Schleurholts, architect with the Dutch design agency Cepezed, to radically change the building. “There was initially a lot of resistance from the people who worked there,” said Ronald Schleurholts. “Few were eager to return, not just because of the memories of how things used to be, but also because they were uneasy about the high level of transparency we had introduced into the building. Before, people were able to hide themselves away in their cubby-holes; now everybody can see everybody else. You can see who is sitting in the director’s office. You know if your colleague is available. And this has had a positive effect. The transparency, I am told, is also reflected in the management style. People are now involved. And the views from the building are fantastic. You can now look out over the canals and motorways for which the people working in the building are responsible.” The building that was formerly so dark and oppressive is now bathed in light. In fact, the Westraven Office Complex won the coveted Daylight Award in 2008. This award is presented every two years to a building that demonstrates an optimum combination of daylight, artificial lighting and architectural excellence. “Introducing as much daylight as possible was our first priority. People function better in daylight. They feel more comfortable, more in tune with the natural rhythm of life. Daylight is constantly changing, and this is far more stimulating than a bland, constant light level often found with traditional uses of artificial lighting. By introducing so much glass and allowing natural light to enter the building, people are happier doing their work. What’s more, they can orientate themselves better in a building which offers both a view and daylight.

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Profile for Luminous – International Lighting Magazine

Luminous 1 | Grid Stifles Imagination?  

Grid Stifles Imagination? | Piazza San Magno, Legnano, Italy | Martin Lupton, London,United Kingdom | Las Palmas building, Rotterdam, The N...

Luminous 1 | Grid Stifles Imagination?  

Grid Stifles Imagination? | Piazza San Magno, Legnano, Italy | Martin Lupton, London,United Kingdom | Las Palmas building, Rotterdam, The N...