Discover Benelux, Issue 43, July 2017

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Discover Benelux  |  Top Architects in the Netherlands   |  Creating Quality of Life

ING Bank headquarters Photo: Sybolt Voeten

Organic architecture with wellbeing in mind TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN  |  PHOTOS: ALBERTS & VAN HUUT

There are many buildings in Amsterdam that speak to one’s imagination and the head office of ING Bank justly so. Situated in the southeastern part of the city, the building is a prime example of organic architecture with its evocative design that shuns straight lines and use of sand colours. It is there where we meet its maker: architect Max van Huut from Architectenbureau Alberts & Van Huut, involved with transforming the construction from an office to an apartment building. Completed in 1986 and opened in 1987, the head office of ING is a good example of what was to come from the Alberts & 16  |  Issue 43  |  July 2017

Van Huut bureau, whose namesake Ton Alberts passed away in 1999. The buildings they have designed since all share that same organic feeling by creating a sense of harmony and beauty not only for aesthetic reasons, but for the wellbeing of its users as well. “If you create a house that’s as basic as a square, you’ll not only have sounds bounce back and forth on the walls, but it’ll determine your perspective on life as well,” says Van Huut. That particular way of thinking is clearly visible inside the office of the ING Bank, where no room is exactly the same and the curved façades bounce the sounds from outside up into the air. Built in a time

when cradle to cradle was not commonplace, Van Huut and Alberts designed the office to be as sustainable as possible, having little reason to demolish anything should the need arise to give the building a new meaning. “The key to sustainability is attention,” says Van Huut. “I see a building like a strong relationship: treasure it, and it’ll bare its soul - that is more than just aesthetics. It’ll make you conscious of its shapes and what it does to us humans. That is something I miss much with the more modern, uniform designs.” “When it comes to designing, I can’t stress enough how important the surrounding area is for where a building