Menzis Office Building by Cie in Groningen, Netherlands

The following is from the architects’ website:


‘With its high, angular structure, the Menzis office is a distinctive landmark on Groningen’s south-western periphery. Three identical prismatic volumes, each four storeys high, are rotated at 90 degrees to one another, so the building seems to lean. The lowest volume accommodates the public functions; the two upper volumes primarily contain office spaces. The atriums, stacked in a spiral-like fashion, interconnect the various floors and are an expression of the corporate values of Menzis: transparent and communicative. Moreover, in their formal variety the atriums offer some surprising interior perspectives. The building is a successful combination of a distinctive exterior and a varied and exciting interior.’

‘The new construction for the Menzis health insurarce company is situated on the edge of the Europapark urban expansion of the city of Groningen. At city scale level, the construction expresses its iconographic character toward the urban circular and the A7 motorway, the Europaweg. At ground floor level, the street alignment is determinated by the Europapark, where the building, as it rises, gradually leans over into the street space.

The 12-storey building is divided into three identical prismatic segments, rotatred 90º in relation to each other. With dimensions of 43 x 43 m, the segment is characterized by functional yet aesthetic compactness. Each segment contains four storeys, intersected vertically by an atrium. As a consequence, a spiral of atria is generated, forming an internal response to the dynamic exterior.

The foot accommodates the public functions, which are orientated toward the atrium and include service desks, an insurance shop and a healthcare service center. A doctor’s room and several consulting rooms are situated in themore private area. A practical system of partitioning divides the third and fourth floors into meeting rooms, a library, training areas, an auditorium, and a restaurant. The restaurant area can also be deployed flexibly as extra meeting space if required. The spacious staircase, which allow easy public flow though the atrium to the restaurant and meeting centre above, offer an unimpeded view of both the inner area and the water of the Winschoterdiep (canal).

The middle and upper segments are generic. The specific presence of the atrium, which allows the incidence of daylight into the building, contrasts with the neutral character of each storey. The atrium divides each storey into a series of working areas with distinct qualities: peripheral or secluded, light or well-shaded, open or closed. The variation in spatial conditions enables the application of diverse office concepts, geared to the different work processes within Menzis, such as the call center, administrative functions, and stuff functions. The atrium stairs facilitate informal contact between the floors. In combination with the use of natural materials, the magnolia garden around the building with its diverse terraces, water features and illuminations, contributes to creating a pleasant and relaxed ambience.’

Date of construction: 2003 - 2005

For more pictures visit: www1.cie.nl.

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