A staircase as a design statement
The combined effect of the scale and inviting openness of the atrium, its daylit illumination and the arrangement of furniture in islands on the ground floor makes it the natural venue for receiving visitors, and locating the staff canteen on this floor allowed us to further reinforce its function as the main venue for interaction. Meeting rooms along the periphery of the atrium offer additional privacy when needed. We used a central wooden staircase to pronounce the depth of the building by fashioning it as a ribbon of pale wood unfolding through the building and ascending to the upper-floor terraces in a single unbroken line. Its central position also encourages people to walk between floors, rather than use the elevators, which we placed out of sight, thereby also minimising energy consumption.
Meeting TNT’s climate neutral ambitions meant taking every opportunity offered by natural sources of illumination, heat and power (in the form of sunlight, wind and water), and using recycled materials where possible to minimise the building’s reliance on anything that required fossil fuels in its manufacture. Hence the building’s north-south orientation, which allows it to capture as much daylight as possible, thereby increasing its energy efficiency and making it cheaper to run. Innovative sun blinds allow daylight illumination in every room without compromising the views. And the acoustic wall panels are of recycled felt.