The Eye

A New Dutch EU Building Shows That Government Offices Don’t Have to Be Boring and Stuffy

The 3-D-printed façade for the temporary headquarters of the Dutch EU presidency in Amsterdam is a whimsical ode to the sails of yachts once built on the grounds.

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode. Courtesy of Heijmans/DUS Architects.

The specter of a temporary government building might conjure grim, no-nonsense architecture and design. But European politicians and officials in Amsterdam—the temporary headquarters of the Dutch EU presidency for the first half of 2016—have been graced with a whimsical, theatrical 3-D-printed façade on the entrance of the Europe Building.

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode. Courtesy of Heijmans/DUS Architects.

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Dutch company Heijmans—which has helped build such innovative projects as pop-up apartments for millennials, a robot-built bridge, and a dreamy glow-in-the-dark bike path inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night—has collaborated with Amsterdam-based DUS Architects to create the façade for the Europe Building. The two firms are also currently working on a project to 3-D-print a full-sized canal house in Amsterdam.

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode. Courtesy of Heijmans/DUS Architects.

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The modular, demountable building is enrobed with “playfully shaped sails” that are a reference to the yachts once built on the site, according to a project description from Heijmans. The design created alcoves in the façade, which are outfitted with EU blue–colored 3-D-printed benches that are backlit at sunset with a gently pulsating light. Over six months, about 17,500 ministers and other officials are expected to pass through on their way to daily meetings.

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode. Courtesy of Heijmans/DUS Architects.

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