European Patent Office, Rijswijk

In Rijswijk rises the new office of the largest international organisation in the Netherlands, the European Patent Office (EPO). With 27 floors and a 85.000 m2 floor area, it accommodates 1.950 employees in two main structures: New Main, the main building, and New Hinge, a lower section which houses the restaurant, an atrium with indoor garden and hearing rooms. For New Main, the upper floors, including the technical floor with higher variable loads, were created using the Slimline floor system.

Flexibility is one of the key focal points for this 107 meter high, 156 meter long and 24,7 meter wide creation of renowned architectural firms Atelier Jean Nouvel (Paris) and Dam & Partners (Amsterdam). All buildings services have been integrated in the Slimline floor system, which combines ceiling, hollow installation space and subfloor. This allows flexible compartmentalization of all rooms and spaces. Furthermore, the Slimline floor system offered the solution to create additional floors and workspaces within the maximum allowed construction height while preserving the slender design.

The new EPO-building combines contemporary architecture with modern and advanced infrastructure. According to architect Diederik Dam, it's the highest and most slender steel and glass construction in Europe. The main building structure consists of over 10.000 tons of steel, which makes it the largest steel construction of this quality in the Netherlands. A total of 100.000 m2 of glass was fitted in the building. The consortium opted for a steel construction due to the relatively low weight, the modular principle that allows fast and relatively silent construction and the increased flexibility offered by the material in room mapping. The Slimline floor system further contributes to the slender look, the low weight of the construction and the permanent adaptability.

"This building embodies our quest for innovation for the benefit of the citizens of Europe and the competitive power of the European economy. This creation by Jean Nouvel and Diederik Dam is much more than just an impressive landmark in the skyline of The Hague and an economic impulse for the region. It's also a token of our gratitude for the long-standing relationship with the Netherlands", says Benoît Battistelli, EPO president. "This extraordinary building offers an environmentally friendly and sustainable work space for our staff in this location and a credit to all people who have worked so hard to accomplish it. We're convinced that the new office is a harbinger of a new era, for our employees in the Netherlands and for the users of the European patent system. It's part of our efforts to modernize the EPO, allowing us to offer state-of-the-art services of an ever-increasing quality."