European Patent Office

Rijswijk (NL), 2004



The European Patent Office grants patents for the most ingenious inventions of our time. Such an organization deserves hypermodern accommodations. Relying on the latest insights from environmental science and technology, we designed an innovative, environmentally friendly office building. Our resulting design is a compact office block in which 1,600 employees work in concentration in a vertical landscape reminiscent of the hanging gardens of Babylon. Depending on the local moisture levels and temperature in that part of the building, olive groves and orange trees flourish amongst the offices, or indigenous or tropical plants and mosses run rampant.

The building’s skin is an intelligent, interactive façade incorporating solar cells and air vents. It functions as different layers of clothing that keep the body warm. Depending on the building’s needs, this second skin produces heat or cold and generates electricity from solar power. The internal building temperature is regulated using heat and cold storage in the soil and concrete core activation in the floors of the building. Together with natural thermal regulation, atria channel heat back to the heat reclamation system. An abundance of plants functions as an air filtration system, purifying the air and boosting oxygen levels to create optimal working conditions.


Name: European Patent Office
Location: Plaspoelpolder, Rijswijk (NL)
Program: office building with 1,600 workstations
Surface area: 67,000 m2 gfa
Assignment: competition design
Period: 2004
Status: Completed
Client: European Patent Office, represented by Phase eins IABR


VenhoevenCS: Ton Venhoeven, Peter Heideman, Kees Plomp, Jos-Willem van Oorschot, Manfred Wansink, Cécilia Gross, Peterine Arts, Willem Lucassen, Suzanne Andree
Images: VenhoevenCS