Text written by the project submitter.

The former ‘Luitenant Generaal Knoop Kazerne’ in Utrecht has been transformed into contemporary Government Office ‘de Knoop’ with additional representation as a central meeting hub for all Dutch Central Government Ministries.

Voids, balconies and staircases make a continuous sequence of spaces in the new Government Office building that was created in collaboration with Cepezed and Rijnboutt. The interior offers a customer journey which centers on users’ needs. This ranges from the open, buzzing environment at arrival, to the restaurant the break-out areas and social hubs, and which becomes increasingly more personal towards the working domains, with the workplaces and small meeting areas.

Trees and plants are integrated in the design, while views of the city’s landmarks provide orientation. In the conference center, the open areas which are defined along the voids and staircases, can house up to 300 people to informally connect before and after meetings. The anchor points in the working domains are connected like a string of pearls in a necklace, each slightly different in order to do justice to the representation of the various users. The integration of art and every detail up to the graphics of the wayfinding was designed with a meticulous passion to create a truly integrated design.

A sturdy introvert structure was transformed into a perfect example of the 21st century working hub, introducing voids, stairs and a big atrium.
Oftentimes eighties buildings get destroyed because of the limited ceiling heights, poor build quality and closed character. With the adding of voids and staircases a new found spaciousness was created with far reaching sightlines and open floors. The connection of voids to a new atrium gave the formally introvert building an extrovert feeling while the transparent and fresh identity of the interior also seamlessly connects it to a new building part.

The old structure with its characteristic columns is now an asset, and by designing a special climate system, ample height is ensured in the office areas. Details like the exposed raw concrete against the smooth glass surface of the new elements and facade, emphasize the fluid merge between old and new. The materialisation scheme was kept simple, the cool concrete of the existing building is contrasted with warm hues of wood and fabrics, never compromising on transparency.

Although the Programme of Demands consisted of 21014 requirements - relating to functionality, safety, acoustics, climate, sustainability and aesthetics - the team managed to realise the extremely high ambitions while creating the most comfortable and welcoming working environment. According to ‘Centre for People and Buildings’ it is one of the most appreciated Dutch Government Office Buildings to work in.


Designer Fokkema & Partners Architecten

Client R creators (A consortium of Strukton, Ballast Nedam and Facilicom)

Floor Area 30.00 ㎡