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Building Crossover is a real balancing act

We are standing next to the entrance of what will soon be the multifunctional Crossover. Paul Spaargaren, project manager at contractor BAM, looks up into the air. What we see above us is not blue sky, but the floors of the first office storeys of the building. This is because the Crossover office tower playfully leans over the entrance to the complex. ‘We call that a projection or overhang’, says Spaargaren. From where we are standing, it actually looks pretty uncomplicated. But, according to Spaargaren, building a projection like that is a real balancing act. ‘We had to build an ingenious steel structure that spreads the weight evenly. It needs to be sturdy enough but also sufficiently light for construction purposes. The steel must not be allowed to sag.’

Exciting mixture

Within Kop Zuidas, Crossover already creates an attractive ensemble together with the adjacent Terrace Tower. But Crossover has a completely different purpose: in addition to the nine floors of offices on one side of the building, there will be seven floors of housing on the other. The ground floor – which connects the office section with the housing part – will be home to hospitality and catering and provide space for civic and social amenities. The 120 social rented apartments in Crossover include 60 for student first-timers and 60 for refugees with residence permits. We explained this concept in detail in an earlier report. There will also be ten owner-occupied apartments in the complex.

The office tower
Marcel Steinbach

Not totally straightforward

As we reach the residential tower, it is obvious that significant progress has also been made here. Most of the total of six floors of housing have already been built. Unlike the office section, a concrete structure has been used for the housing. ‘In terms of construction technology, this part of the building is less complicated. But it’s still not totally straightforward’, said Spaargaren. ‘The housing section is staggered in various places, which makes it look different from every side. It’s playful and surprising. On the Gaasterlandstraat side, you’ll have three floors of housing, whereas there’ll be six on the A10 side.’ Spaargaren guides us across a walkway on one of the floors of housing. Most of the window frames are already in place and there are even some hinges ready for the front doors. Spaargaren enters one of the apartments and walks around the room. ‘Look, this is where the bathroom will be. A toilet, and a kitchen here. These are compact apartments, each one about 27 square metres. But they include everything you need – it’s a very clever layout.’

Bricks made from recycled waste

Back on the walkway, we have a view over a type of courtyard. It is currently still full of scaffolding, but will later be transformed into a green patio. And this will not be the only green space in, or rather on Crossover. On the roofs of the staggered parts of the housing section, there will be city gardens accessible to the building’s residents. On each floor, the office tower will have a spacious terrace and the floor that connects both sections together will also feature a lot of greenery. ‘These different terraces also serve as a buffer and storage place for water’, says Spaargaren. ‘The details have been carefully devised to contribute to the building’s sustainability. The entire façade will feature bricks that have been made especially for Crossover. They’re more than 50% recycled waste, made from ceramic originally from old toilets, roof panels and tiles.’

Sustainability

There are good reasons why Crossover is aiming to achieve the highest possible BREEAM score, a five-star Outstanding certificate. This kind of label is unique in the Netherlands for a multifunctional building – buildings that generally achieve such a high score tend to be offices. It not only means that there will be room for green spaces, but also plenty of natural daylight and outstanding air circulation. ‘Even during the construction phase, we’re working as sustainably as possible’, says Spaargaren. ‘See that traffic barrier over there at the entrance to the construction site?’ He points 50 m up the road, where the barrier is operated from a small hut. ‘We keep careful records of the CO2 emissions for all of the transport entering and exiting the site.’

Schedule and details

Construction started on Crossover in February 2021. In addition to 127 social rented apartments and ten owner-occupied properties, the building will boast around 9,000 sq. m. of office space. On the ground floor, 453 sq. m. have been set aside for hospitality and catering and 537 sq. m. for civic and social amenities. The underground car park will have space for 80 cars, including shared cars for future residents. Completion is expected to be in the spring of 2023.

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