Benthem Crouwel Architects is an international, multidisciplinary architectural practice founded by Jan Benthem and Mels Crouwel in 1979 in Amsterdam. The founding duo is no longer leading the firm, and the firm is now led by the partners – Saartje van der Made, Daniel Jongtien, Joost Vos, and Pascal Cornips. The firm’s design approach since inception has been modern and realistic – to build flexible and adaptable buildings that are as easy to assemble as they are to take apart. The firm’s motto to “design beyond architecture” is to develop an excellent design that benefits their clients, society, and the planet.
1. Goede Doelen Loterijen Head Offices, Amsterdam (2018)
This office building has been renovated from an empty office building into a stunning and highly sustainable mixed-use development. It is the most sustainable renovated property in the Netherlands and achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating of 92.61%, where all materials of the old building have been reused, and all newly used materials are sustainable and can be reused in the future. The roof, made out of 6800 polished aluminium ‘leaves’ that create a dappled sunlight effect on the interiors, is supported by slender tree-like columns and is the trademark element of the building.
2. RAI Exhibition and Convention Center Car Park, Amsterdam (2016)
This structure is a standalone car parking facility and multifunctional building. The two 30-meter helix-shaped towers are constructed from prefab concrete elements. They function as two separate ramps for cars to exit and enter, which creates the quickest and most efficient flow of traffic. The first floor with its double-height space, and uppermost parking level, are both large and spacious spaces that can be used as extra spaces for conventions and exhibitions.
3. Utrecht Central Station, Utrecht (2016)
This public transport terminal housing train, bus, and tram platforms, is the largest and busiest train station in the Netherlands being used by approximately 88 million people as of 2016. A singular curving steel roof of 235 by 85 meters covers the station, coupled with appropriate lighting, furniture, and rows of shops and eateries, create an open and airy outdoorsy atmosphere. The continuous glass façade hanging from the roof brings in large amounts of sunlight and offer passer-bys expansive city views.
4. The Hague Central Station, the Hague (2015)
This station is a central hub where all of the city’s public transport lines – train, tram, and bus – converge. A 22-meter-high flat glass roof of 120 by 96 meters, punctured by diamond-shaped panels, and supported by slender columns, covers the entire terminal. Similar to the Utrecht central station, the Hague station is also designed like a public plaza that forms an integral part of the urban fabric of the city.
5. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2012)
BCA is responsible for the renovation and seamless extension of the Stedelijk Museum, originally designed by A. W. Weissman in 1895. The strong points that the building was originally known for – like the majestic staircase, grand rooms, and natural lighting have been retained. With the original building as a backdrop, the extension building with a translucent glass base and floating wide canopy made of reinforced fibre, has come to be known as “the bathtub” and become the new modern face of the museum.
6. Fletcher Hotel, Amsterdam (2013)
This 60-meter tall luxury hotel is the iconic slender cylindrical tower that greets visitors entering Amsterdam from the highway. With the floor plan having a diameter of only 24 meters, the hotel is planned in an efficient and compact manner with a central concrete circular core. The tower has a double-skin high performing façade – the inner shell consists of circular windows, while the outer shell is a blueprinted glass screen.
7. Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Bochum (2009)
This museum is one of the most important mining museums and popular museums in Germany. The new extension to the museum, made by BCA, is connected to the existing building by bridges. The entire concept, from the façade to the internal planning, is inspired by mines. The extension building itself looks like the cross-section of a mine – a black cube, like a coal, with shining tunnels or ‘mine shafts’ of red, yellow, and white running through it.
8. LAB42, Amsterdam (Construction to start in 2020)
LAB42 is imagined as an amalgamation of an academic centre, research institute, clubhouse, and workshop – a space that facilitates innovation and collaboration. BCA has designed a future – proof space, one that is open, flexible, and can be easily adjusted or dismantled in the future, by using a straightforward, grid-like modular structure. The transparent and bright façade creates an inviting presence for all.
9. Data Centers Equinix, Amsterdam (2017)
BCA has designed the AM3 and AM4 data centres in a revolutionary attempt to make “the invisible visible”. Data centres have always been built for functional purposes, not designed to be aesthetically pleasing. The AM3 buildings’ exteriors are clad with black fins, in contrast to AM4’s grand, silver façade. While maintaining security precautions through physical barriers like a canal, and technological barriers like identity and fingerprint checkpoints, BCA has succeeded in including the data centres into the urban fabric of the city. Following BCA’s ideology, these buildings are future proof.
10. RAI Elicium, Amsterdam (2009)
The Elicium is an extension to the RAI Exhibition and Congress Center and is attached to the existing complex through aerial walkways on either side of the ‘Expo Foyer’ that is floating 5 meters above the ground. The single continuous metallic curve that connects all spaces of the building gives a modern and elegant shape to the building.
11. Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam (2012)
Ziggo Dome, with a capacity for 17,000 spectators, fulfilled the necessity of a concert hall with a medium capacity (12,000 – 20,000) is not only Amsterdam but also the Netherlands. The building façade is covered with 120,000 LED fixtures, which draws attention to it, and also serves as a video screen for announcements or to provide glimpses of the shows inside. With a small number of modifications, this hall can be used for other purposes like sports matches, a swimming pool, or a skating rink.
12. Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2004)
BCA was responsible for designing the expansion of The Rietveld Academy of Arts with a nine-storeyed studio building. The building façade towards the existing building (north) has floor to ceiling transparent windows that flood the interiors with light. The south, east, and west façades are clad with 16,000 pressed Czech glass square tiles that are thick and semi-transparent and limit the amount of direct sunlight coming into the building.
13. The Paleisbrug, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (2015)
The Paleisbrug or the “Palace” bridge is a 250-meter bridge built above the railway track, meant to connect the historic centre and the developing centre of the city. It is an elevated park and can be used by pedestrians or cyclists for recreational purposes. The bridge is made of rust-coloured weather-proof steel, giving the bridge a lifespan of over 100 years. A large solar collector has been fitted on to the bridge, which collects energy during the summer and provides floor heating to the bridge to keep it free from ice during winter, and also provides the surrounding districts with energy.
14. Cedar ING Offices, Amsterdam (2019)
This project consists of two five-story buildings. Keeping with ING’s new way of working to be agile and innovative, the floor to ceiling glass façade with curved canopies wrapping around the façade of the building creates an inviting and open appearance, reiterating the client ING’s purpose of transparency and connectivity. The elevated footbridge bridge connecting both buildings allows for quick and easy movement through the buildings and fosters collaboration.
15. Kulturbau, Koblenz (2013)
The Kulterblau ‘Forum Confluentes’ is a shopping mall that together with another shopping mall ‘Forum Mittelrhein’ forms part of the redevelopment of the central square of Koblenz. Kulterblau is wrapped with a partially translucent double façade with white silk-screen glazing which envelopes the building like a second skin.