The distinctive black cube on the Johan Huizingalaan (visible from the A4 and A10 ringways) was originally built as IBM headquarters. The adjacent hall served as a typewriter factory.
After IBM left its premises, several developers prepared large-scale area development with offices as its main focus. The plan was to build an “extension of the Zuidas” (major business district along the ringway A10) in this spot.
These plans were never realized and the area (The Riekerpolder) became one of the prime examples of a mono-functional office district like so many others that have emerged in recent years in the Netherlands. An unattractive proposition as it turned out and “For Rent” signs disfigured many offices in this area, without any tangible result.
The current owner of the complex, in partnership with developer COD, decided to take action. Following a renovation, the hall was leased to PostNL, which generated some income. The office building, with her excesses – large floors, accessibility and robustness – afforded an opportunity to do things differently.
B.Amsterdam and Studio Fabrick teamed up and started off by designing a new entrance and a creative working space for innovation, education and growth on the second floor of the building.
Soon this floor was overcrowded… With its 28.000 square meters and two buildings today, B. Amsterdam is the biggest startup ecosystem in Europe.
Recycling and sustainability are key words when it comes to our designs. When B. was still in its infancy, we started out collecting used materials and furniture. Concepts were born, based on what we could find. If you’ve ever been to B. you’ve noticed that there’s a lot of green and wood. For B.’s public spaces we frequently used underlayment and OSB, which we now refer to as ‘startup wood’.