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government office de knoop


government office de knoop 

The Knoop barracks in the centre of Utrecht were delivered in 1989 as the headquarters of the Royal Netherlands Army. cepezed produced the architectural design for a thorough transformation into State Office De Knoop, an office and meeting centre for the national government.

  • client(s)
  • central government real estate agency
  • location
  • Utrecht
  • user(s)
  • government
  • expertise
  • architects

The transformation  

The original construction of State Office de Knoop in Utrecht was characterized by a diverse range of volumes with varying heights and floor dimensions. The building had meandering façades, which were finished with smoked-glass solar shading.

cepezed’s redevelopment design consisted of partial demolition, new-build expansion and a completely new urban embedding over several height levels.

Oude situatie | cepezed
Lucas van der Wee | cepezed

Sustainable government office in Utrecht  

We paid a great deal of attention to sustainability. For example, we made optimal reuse of the existing building and utilized triple glazing, certified materials and a partly green roof.

Further examples: the light is controlled by movement sensors and CO2 measurement takes place continuously for climate control. State Office de Knoop can rightly be called a ‘green redevelopment’.

lucas van der wee | cepezed
Lucas van der Wee | cepezed

Maximum spatial quality  

To create more light, air, openness and transparency, we removed countless inner walls.

Hybrid ceiling islands were also developed especially for this project in Utrecht. The use of these ceiling islands eliminates the need for suspended ceilings in the existing building. Despite the limited storey height, this complex still provides the government with maximum spaciousness.

Lucas van der Wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed

Meetings at a height  

The meeting centre in State Office De Knoop is located in an extension with eight high storeys. The new and existing buildings come together in a transparent atrium with a transport zone that also contains the lifts and staircases.

The complex has a clean-lined skin with vertical articulation, which brings the different components together to form a single entity. As a result, recesses in the original building contour have become voids. and these contribute to the internal spatial quality of the State Office.

lucas van der wee | cepezed
Lucas van der Wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed


  • primary client: rijksvastgoedbedrijf
  • contracted consortium: r creators, utrecht (strukton, ballast nedam en facilicom)
  • interior design: fokkema & partners
  • urban planning & landscaping: rijnboutt
  • stability: pieters bouwtechniek
  • building services: strukton worksphere
  • building physics & sustainability: dgmr
  • main contractor: strukton, ballast nedam
  • contractor: staalbouw nagelhout bakhuizen
  • façades: de groot & visser
  • light object: studio drift

awards & nominations

  • frame awards | governmental interior | 2020
  • healthy urban office challenge | 2017
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