Amsterdam is known for bicycles, canals, gorgeous historic buildings, cheese, fries with mayonnaise, beer, coffee shops & its red light district…
My last day took a bit of a departure from that list… with a rather modern edge!
It started with a delightful breakfast catch-up at a café in Oosterpark followed by a ride on the back of a bicycle to the metro. (pretty standard stuff so far)
Why naturally hop over to Amsterdam Zuid for lunch in the business district! Isn’t that everyone’s top destination?
Far from the typical grand historic buildings of Amsterdam Centraal, Zuid is the universe of office towers like ABN, World Trade Centre… which to my Asian eyes all seem oddly stunted and small when your measuring stick is Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo!
The highlight was checking out the spanking new THE EDGE which boasts being the world’s most innovative and sustainable office building. And I gotta admit, it is deceptively impressive. Unassuming from the exterior, the features and feel is what makes it remarkable.
So what is it like inside? Cus naturally I got the full tour! We first went up… to look 15 floors down the atrium where there is a cheerful café below… and lovely lounge space above…
The view of the sky from the roof was spectacular… I was ‘ahem’ encouraged to lean on the gravity defying glass at the top but declined. 😉
So much is controlled by applications from your smart phone or tablet:
- Wanna book a room? Just wave your phone in front of the bar code and select
- Room to hot? cold? bright? dark? Tap tap and adjust to your preference
- Need to project your presentation… tap tap without any wires…
- Phone battery low, just set it on the table and it will recharge – again without any wires…
- Need a locker for your bike helmet and stuff? No keys or codes required here – just select and secure with your phone and as you come back, your locker door will sense your arrival and automatically pop open
- Can’t find your colleague? Tap tap to find out where s/he is in the building (ooh big brother time!)
Everything is designed to not just be ‘state of the art’ but also resource ‘smart’ so that real-time utilisation links to how much heating / cooling and even cleaning different parts of the building require.
Natural light from the south side minimises the need for artificial lighting during the day. Solar panels on the north side of the building charge all laptops, phones, etc. Whereas more solar panels on the roof meet the requirements to heat, cool and light the building. Rainwater is used to flush toilets and water plants.
I didn’t check out the gym but apparently as you exercise, you help power the building too. Naturally public transportation is encouraged with a large board at the entrance providing the latest options and times. There are also plenty of spots for bicycle parking and none nearby for cars. Typical for Amsterdam, there are recycling bins everywhere too.
The place is so new that many floors are still getting ready for occupancy. and all around the building are signs of construction and change.
The view is very much that of ‘new’ rather than ‘old’ Amsterdam… what was remarkable for me is how empty the roads are of traffic!
What a fascinating opportunity to explore what could potentially be the future of office buildings which are wireless, adaptable, sustainable and apparently even carbon negative in terms of their impact on the environment.
Living in polluted Mumbai where it seems all building construction is mired in dangerous short-cuts, corruption and disregard for the environment and people, it is easy to become cynical. So all the more reason to be impressed by initiatives like The Edge that attempts to make a positive difference.
Anyone else find such a ‘tour’ interesting? Or am I the only weirdo out there that finds such things worth seeing and wish in my lifetime to see such structures in my adopted home India?
More info? Check out:
- The Edge (official website)
- Deloitte’s new Amsterdam HQ has connected, sensor-packed LED lighting
- The Edge | PlusOne Amsterdam