Adaptive Reuse – A Second Life | Postal Warehouse

Repurposing a building for a new function and use has been a sustainable measure architect worldwide have taken for a few years. Every building has a function and a set lifespan. Some buildings fulfil their function throughout their lifespan. The vision of the architect and people delivers, even with time. But many a time, with changes in the urban fabric, environment, and lifestyle, the function of a building may give in before it completes its lifespan. This could end with the building structure being abandoned or discarded. Architects today have stepped in to solve such issues by breathing a new lease of life into such buildings, adapting their exterior and interior to a new function and purpose. 

Postal warehouse transformed into "monumental" offices by KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects - Sheet1
PostNL Office_©
Postal warehouse transformed into "monumental" offices by KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects - Sheet2
PostNL Office_©

KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects

KCAP is an international design firm with expertise in urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. Their mission is to understand the city as an ever-growing environment. It is common to get caught up in trends and overlook the long-lasting impact of design on the urban setting. They aim to create timeless designs that nurture the surroundings collectively. 

Kraaijvanger Architects are practical idealists. They work on projects keeping the clients and environment in mind. They believe that it is essential for designs to inspire people and change their lives, work, and learning environment. They aim to give something back to society with every project. 

KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects transform the postal warehouse into “monumental offices.”

Any good project done in collaboration achieves success with the alignment of vision and beliefs. Dutch studios KCAP and Kraaijvanger were commissioned to retrofit the vast concrete building alongside the Hollands Spoor train station in the Hague. Formerly called TNT N.V., PostNL is a mail, parcel, and e-commerce corporation. In the last century, PostNL loaded and unloaded their mail and sorted the parcels in this building of monumental character. This building was classified as a national monument. It is now transformed into a modern office that will act as the headquarters for PostNL in the Netherlands

Design of the Office | Postal warehouse

The new design of the office responds to the client’s requirement for a new environment with flexible spaces. This flexibility encourages learning and working with each other and connects all the employees and guests in a positive growth environment. 

An office with a good working environment defines the work output and results. A few offices are too enclosed, disconnecting the employees from the outside and others. What makes the PostNL office stand out is its design, which creates an environment as comfortable as a home, thereby increasing work efficiency. The architectural team believed that a good workspace design is about balance. There must be the right amount of openness, visual and physical connectivity, and enclosure. This, in turn, affects the light and disturbing noises entering the workspace. The concept of the office design takes inspiration from a house. Just like a house has different zones with different functions yet is well-connected with each other, this office has spaces zoned out well. This makes the facility future-proof, as a lot of multi-functionality would occur in the use of office spaces. Creating flexibility in the office space aligns with the company’s long-term goals. 

The architects made use of the existing pre-fabricated concrete columns of the building. These were used as frame support for a full-height atrium. This lies beneath the arched roof that beautifully houses a skylight. This skylight brings a lot of natural light into the workspace, making it feel comfortable to work in by relying less on artificial lighting. The spatial arrangement of interiors also allows people to work in isolation and in collaboration with one another. There are formal work zones with meeting areas surrounded by pockets of informal and dynamic zones with semi-open spaces. A zone of quiet spaces in the periphery provides quiet private areas to work in.

Postal warehouse transformed into "monumental" offices by KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects - Sheet3
Skylight and Atrium_©

The existing building is in the typical style of Bremer: large blocks, compact form, and without any external ornamentation. “The spatial layout and atmosphere of the monumental building are unique: the glass blocks facade, the deep floor areas, and the powerful structural features,” said Chantal Vos, associate partner at Kraaijvanger Architects. New mezzanine floors were added between the existing floors to create interesting levels with interconnection. They were all connected by one of the most outstanding features of the building – the skylight. This ensured that daylight entering the building was allowed even with new levels. 

Postal warehouse transformed into "monumental" offices by KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects - Sheet4
Interior Landscape_©

A black, minimalist staircase creates a statement in the atrium and connects the various levels of the office. It has an industrial touch to it that ties the whole space together. The bridges and stairs create a dialogue for the building. It can be read as a metaphor for conveyor belts and sorting machines previously used in the building to deliver mail from the stations. 


The large areas of exposed concrete with minimal glass and metal interiors contrast each other beautifully. Exposed columns and beams add to the overall industrial look. The architects’ work in this project has received a lot of well-deserved appreciation. There are many other retrofitting projects that the firms work on. Their aim and vision are well aligned with the environment’s needs today. 

Online Sources:

KCAP and Kraaijvanger Architects transform Dutch postal warehouse into “monumental” offices (2023) Dezeen. Available at: (Accessed: February 26, 2023). 

KCAP. Available at: (Accessed: February 26, 2023). 

Kraaijvanger, Stationspostgebouw The Hague. Available at: (Accessed: February 26, 2023). 


Rhea is an architect by profession who believes that architecture is an intangible form of art that has the power to shape people’s life and surroundings. The relationship between built and unbuilt spaces intrigues her. She is a curious person with a love for art and its various forms of expression. She has a keen interest in travel, photography, and music.