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The Pulse is being built using mineral strips and plastic bottles

Just next to the entrance to the building site, a life-sized façade provides a glimpse of the future: part of the front façade of both the residential and office towers, side-by-side and at life-size. The red brick façade of the residential tower designed by architect VMX looks as if it was inspired by the Amsterdam School style of architecture. But appearances are deceptive: these are not bricks, but a type of cladding made of mineral strips that have been placed onto a wooden frame. ‘That’s precision work’, says Marcel Moerenhout, works project manager for developer VORM. ‘The people who apply those strips are real artists.’

This is what the façades will look like

Up to the fourth floor

As well as its brick-like appearance, the façade of The Pulse of Amsterdam will also have space for green balconies and facilities for local wildlife, including a hotel for bees. But that is yet to come – the residential tower under construction is currently still enveloped in a blue covering that protects the workers from falling materials. The workers have already progressed up to the fourth floor. Ultimately, there will be 21 floors, accommodating 151 mid-market rental apartments and 49 private-sector rental homes.

Amsterdam meets global

From late 2024, The Pulse of Amsterdam is set to be a multifunctional complex where people live, work and relax. The office tower covers 36,000 m² and will have a cosmopolitan look, rather than something more characteristic of Amsterdam. This building has been designed by a second architect (architects’ firm MVSA) who has opted for a steel grey façade consisting of biocomposite, a synthetic material that is made using thousands of PET plastic bottles. Moerenhout: ‘The residential tower will exude the local Amsterdam atmosphere, but the office tower could equally well be in New York, London or Tokyo.’ The large, tilting window sections are part of prefab biocomposite façade elements that are fitted directly onto the façade. What this will ultimately look like is yet to be seen. Work has progressed to the fifth floor, with a further 19 floors still to go.

Urban forest, cinema and shops

The construction site is looking well-organised as we walk past the low-rise central section that connects the two towers. The ground floor of the central section is already clearly visible and will ultimately reach up to the tenth floor. The cherry on the cake will be a real urban forest between the two towers – trees and planting at a height of 35 metres, accessible to residents and business users. There will also be other areas in which to relax. ‘This is the rear wall of an integrated cinema’, points out Moerenhout as we pass by a large rectangular wall protruding proudly into the air. This cinema will have as many as nine screens and the lower central section will also provide space for a range of hospitality outlets and a supermarket.

Electric transport

As we arrive in the office tower, we enter the underground car park. In the garage underneath the office tower, we get a glimpse of what The Pulse of Amsterdam has in store in terms of mobility – there will be no running engines here, but buzzing batteries. This is because there will be 125 parking spaces, all for electric vehicles. Some 20% of them will be exclusively reserved for shared electric cars. Fire safety has also been carefully considered. Every parking compartment can be closed separately. ‘Of course, electric vehicle technology and safety is advancing incredibly fast’, says Moerenhout, ‘but we’re still determined to build in that additional safety.’

Sustainable solutions

The entire project has been awarded a five-star BREEAM Outstanding certification, the highest possible score for construction project sustainability. This is partly thanks to the use of solar panels for energy generation, the presence of a thermal storage heating system and the 125 charging points in the all-electric car park. Even things that are invisible to the public will be sustainable. Plastic elements containing air have been incorporated into the concrete floors, reducing the need for concrete and reinforcement. Besides this, the use of materials will actually reduce construction traffic. ‘If we used real bricks, we would need dozens of trucks just to deliver them’, says Moerenhout. ‘But the strips we need for the cladding on the residential tower all fit into a single truck.’


The Pulse of Amsterdam in Kenniskwartier is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and is being developed by VORM and EDGE.


In the years ahead, we are working with VU and Amsterdam UMC to transform the Kenniskwartier (Knowledge District) in Zuidas into an exciting mixture that brings together a wide variety of different functions. In this neighbourhood (on the south side of the A10, between Parnassusweg/Buitenveldertselaan, A.J. Ernststraat and Amstelveenseweg), there will be around 2,700 homes alongside space for education and knowledge-related business, healthcare, culture, shops and hospitality. Boasting the The Pulse of Amsterdam, the new ADORE Research and Diagnostic Centre, the Rialto VU cinema and the Stepstone social housing project, Kenniskwartier is set to become a place where housing, interaction, inspiration and knowledge-sharing come together.

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