Architecture

150 kV Station Science Park

Architect: Architectenbureau Schutter ETH
Commissioner: Liander
Realization: 2008
Nominated: Gouden A.A.P. 2009

Perculiar brown volume

The Science Park in Amsterdam is undergoing a metamorphosis. Research and educational buildings for the University of Amsterdam, including the large structure housing the Faculty of Science, are being built in accordance with an urban design scheme drawn up by KCAP architects and planners.

In addition, an intriguing rust-coloured volume was recently completed in a corner of the site. It contains a 150 kV Station. The isolated location was necessary because electric fields can surround the current transformer. Its mysterious character is partly due to the fact that the high-tension cables that supply power to the Science Park, and to a large part of Amsterdam, lie underground here.

The three transformers that convert high voltage into low voltage, which is then distributed from here, are not visible to the outside world. They are encased in concrete boxes with an open top in order to regulate heat emission. The whole is surrounded by four closed elevations. Together these form a box, which appears to rise from the ground.

This impression is particularly strong at the front where the elevation is serrated and the transition to the roof is rounded. The building owes its character primarily to the ingenious application and colour of the material of the elevations: thin plates of rust-coloured Corten steel. The escape doors in the façade are almost invisible. The plates are of galvanized steel on part of the roof. This fifth elevation will be clearly visible from the new high-rise and is already visible from the A10. (ARCAM/MB)