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The revitalisation of the Westraven office building in Utrecht, some twenty years ago, reflected the user's values of the time: openness, professionalism and sustainability. With new cladding, among other things, cepezed blew new life into the closed colossus from the 1970s. Currently, we are working on a similar step. This time also the capacity needs to increase and the lay out has to facilitate meetings, cooperation and flexible workplaces. Also the plan aims for a more extensive sustainability.

  • client(s)
  • Central Government Real Estate Agency
  • location
  • Utrecht
  • user(s)
  • Rijkswaterstaat
  • expertise
  • architects
    cepezed interior
oude situatie | cepezed
nieuwe situatie | jannes linders

Stripped to the bone  

For the first transformation of the building, the more than 27,000 m² Westraven tower was stripped down to the concrete skeleton and provided with five enormous voids. These bring in a great deal of light and provide a feeling of spaciousness. The façades are mainly made of glass and have elements that can be opened, so that natural ventilation is possible. A double façade primarily of Teflon-coated glass-fibre membrane prevents wind nuisance, and functions as a sun shade while leaving the view intact. In addition, the membrane forms an aesthetic component that creates strong horizontal articulation. The renewed climate system in the tower consisted mainly of project-specific climate ceilings between the concrete floor joists.

jannes linders

Transparent roof  

A 23,000 m² extension at the foot of the tower consists of five triangular office wings that offer a view of the adjacent canal. These are connected at the base by an efficient circulation artery. The spaces between the wings have been roofed over transparently and on the side of the rounded corners there are large, all-round conservatories. In between the conservatories, there is a green courtyard garden around the tower. As a kit of parts was used, this makes it logical, 20 years later, to reuse material from the building for the then necessary modifications.

Jannes Linders

A variety of sustainability elements  

After the first revitalisation Westraven in Utrecht is characterized by a large variety of sustainability aspects already. Besides the double façade and climate ceilings already mentioned, there is also a geothermal pump. In the new-build floors there is concrete core activation. The building is divided into various climate zones with a series of integrated design solutions, which are not only aesthetically pleasing and functional but also save considerably on materials.

jannes linders

Flexible and mobile working  

The lay out of the working spaces, when first transformed, was hypermodern for the time. Senior management, secretaries and ICT staff have permanent workplaces, but most other staff do not. Every employee has cupboard and shelf space for their papers and documents and decides where to sit every work session. The different departments are fairly demarcated, but within these departments the workplaces vary considerably.

There are plenty of workstations and plug-in points to connect laptops to the network. Except for the call centre that provides travel information (From A to Better), for example, there are hardly any landlines and all the employees work with a mobile phone. People can also easily log into the network from home.

jannes linders
jannes linders

Natural, calm design  

In the first revitalisation, materials such as glass and stainless steel are used in their natural form. In addition, white is the dominant colour. In the conservatories, the floors are laid with wood and the entrance street is paved with Belgian bluestone. The office spaces in both the high-rise and low-rise buildings have been provided with floor covering according to a colour scheme by the Belgian office Outremer. In order to create unity within Westraven, the furniture comes from a very limited number of well-matched lines. In addition, cepezed designed specific furniture itself, such as coffee points and washroom furniture for the toilet groups.

The basic premise of the second transformation is to harvest materials within the building itself. If new material is needed, it will be bio-based.

leading the way again  

There was need for a second revitalisation because more people make use of the building and the way they work has changed. The sustainability will be updated and security zones are organized in a more logic manner. The courtyards that were introduces in 2008, are going to be a part of the new inside space. The spacious and open ground floor provides a more plesant entrance and a good view of the canal. Spaces are multifunctional if possible and the number of plants increases.

Many nominations and awards  

Westraven has received many nominations and awards for sustainability and also for its architecture. In addition, various heavyweights from the Dutch construction world have described the project as one of the most successful in recent years. The former chairman of the construction trade association Bouwend Nederland, Eelco Brinkman, said: ‘Everything is just right: the location, the level of comfort, the energy consumption. A project like this demonstrates that quality is worth it.’

jannes linders


  • client: rijksvastgoedbedrijf
  • interior design: outremer i.s.m. cepezed
  • landscaping: wes & partners
  • stability: abt
  • building services: sweco
  • building physics & sustainability: dgmr
  • main contractor: bouwcombinatie westraven (bam, ballast nedam, homij, imtech)
  • contractor steel construction: nagelhout bakhuizen
  • façades: aks, oskomera, polyned
  • greenspecialist: moss (2023)
  • advisor fire, acoustics, building fysics and sustainability: dgmr (2023)
  • advise and design installation technique: nelissen ingenieursbureau (2023)
  • constructor: pieters bouwtechniek (2023)
  • building cost advisor: ingenieursbureau multical (2023)
  • interior design: hollandse nieuwe i.c.w. cepezed interieur (2023)

awards & nominations

  • prime property award | 2010
  • rietveld prize | 2010
  • dutch building prize | 2009 | buildings
  • best tall building award | 2009 | europe
  • national steel award | 2008 | industrial and public-utility buildings
  • bna building of the year | 2008
  • daylight award | 2008
→ Mail or call our business development team on +31 (0)15 2150000