We created extra project spaces, extra touchdown workplaces and extra meeting rooms. We also looked into how the buildings indoor gardens and the restaurant could be used more effectively as temporary places for work, meetings and phone calls.And, obviously, there was the challenge of the buildings acoustics, which happens to be Nieks key area of expertise. He explains: This building has several special features that strongly influence the acoustic qualities. For example, it has no suspended ceilings. It is all bare concrete, which looksThe building does not feature a traditional good and helps to regulate the temperature level, but suchsuspended ceiling, but acoustic panels with hard surfaces reflect the sounds that people produce.lighting fixtures in them. The use of such panels allows for concrete core activation, which Furthermore, the buildings shape plays a role. For energymeans that the thermal mass of the buildings saving purposes, the architects had created a circularconcrete structure is used to regulate the indoor floor plan, but this also facilitates the propagation ofclimate. (photo: Royal HaskoningDHV)sound along the curved external wall. In addition, that wall inclines inwards, which promotes the reflection of sound. It enhances the whispering effectan effect you might know from the whispering gallery in the dome of St Pauls Cathedral in London.Some of the acoustic problems had to do with the way spaces were positioned in relation to one another. Niek: People were bothered by sounds coming from neighbouring departments and from social meeting points, such as the coffee corners in the atrium. The atrium is open to all floors, so sounds are easily transferred from lower to higher floors and vice versa. To deal with these issues, Niek and his team opted for an approach of elimination and compartmentalization: the coffee corners were removed from the atrium (elimination) and at their new location they were acoustically enclosed (compartmentalization). Furthermore, it was decided to acoustically compartmentalize the office floors. AcousticPartitions divide the open plan office into walls or elements were placed at regular intervals in ordersmaller parts. The lower part of the partition to limit the transmission of sound over long distances andconsists of sound absorbing panels. The upper part is glazed, which helps to maintain a sense the propagation of sound along the external wall. To retainof openness and allows daylight to penetrate the transparency of the interior, the wall elements werethe inner parts of the building. (photo: Royal HaskoningDHV)Q&ALuc Luijben, Associate Manager Spatial Planning departmentWhat do you like best about this new way of working?overall, peoples mobility differs per type of department. I like the openness, the transparency and the longAlso personal preferences play a large role. Our urban internal views combined with ample space fordesign staff, for example, like to have a lot of wall surface concentrated working.on which to display drawings so that they can discuss new plans. So they prefer to be in a specific place in the What aspect could be improved? office. The nice double-storey winter gardens could be better incorporated into the work concept. What is your favourite workspace within the office?The best place for me to work is a place where I am in How often do you change places in the office? contact with my immediate colleaguesthe people with When I work here, in the Town Hall, I am highly mobile,whom I work every day. So I prefer to sit within my own working in a different room at every opportunity. Butfamiliar group of work colleagues.