It’s jaw-dropping. We are standing in the middle of the atrium of EDGE Stadium and all we can do is gaze up at the results of this upgrade project. The atrium is actually a few square metres smaller because the wings of the building have been made slightly larger, but you wouldn’t think so. It feels much more open because of the large windows. The building’s trademark copper heart has been given a good polish and is still there, but in a more subtle way. Bo Gall, work planner at G&S Bouw, shows us around. He has been involved in this radical renovation project from the start. ‘I know every inch of this building now. Of course, when you start a project like this you already have an idea of what you want it to look like. But it’s really something to see it all coming together.’
Fourteen kilometres of cladding
The atrium might be a few square metres smaller, but it has gained so much in terms of light and intimacy. The inner walls are fitted with thousands of MDF cladding slats, finished in a light veneer. ‘That was painstaking work’, Gall admits. ‘We calculated that if you laid them all in a row, you would have fourteen kilometres of slats.’ And there’s something special about the windows overlooking the atrium too. Previously, these were the sliding doors within the building, opening onto a gangway balcony. Because those became superfluous, they were stripped of their hinges and locks, refurbished and repainted.
Coffee bar and trees
There will be an area on the first floor and the ground floor of the building for EDGE Workspaces, a concept based on flexible workplaces and tenants. The atrium has been designed to promote encounters between users. ‘That’s thanks to the walkway over the first floor and the playful semi-circular stairs’, says Gall. ‘There will also be a coffee bar, and a lot of plants.’
Let’s take a walk
At the front of the building on the ground floor there is a meeting space that users of EDGE Workspaces will be able to rent. In the centre there is a square plateau measuring about four metres by four metres, topped with a green Astroturf. ‘It’s a walking meeting room’, explains Gall. ‘A treadmill where up to ten people can talk while they walk. Or vice versa of course.’ It’s a first, it turns out. The manufacturer’s website states that EDGE is launching ‘the first walking meeting room in the world’.
It looks like the second floor of EDGE Stadium will be completed in the near future. The climate installations are ready, the computer floor is in place, the walls have been neatly plastered and painted. It’s a space that instantly catches the eye: every floor has been extended considerably in terms of square metres. This is partly because the wings have been extended towards the atrium. Gall: ‘We also created a glass wall around the copper heart, to create more office space.’ In total, the office space has been made approximately 50% larger. In addition to the inward extension, both the wings and the middle section have also been raised a little higher.
Benches at the front
Finally, we take a look at the front of EDGE Stadium, where the copper heart – now behind a glass facade – elegantly shimmers. The building suddenly looks much more accessible when seen from the Fred. Roeskestraat. Long, solid concrete blocks have been placed between the pavement and the entrance of the building. ‘Timber cladding will be added so that people can sit there. Anyone will be able to use them’, says Gall. ‘And there will be greenery behind those benches.’
The finishing touches will be added in the next few weeks, such as technical installations and electricity, and finishing the façade. At the same time, the other floors, the ground floor and the parking garage will be completed. EDGE Stadium should be fully completed by January 2023.