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Rijkswaterstaat

Middelburg, Netherlands
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The office building of Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is the head office for the Department of Water Management and Transport. It was projected by Paul de Ruiter from 2000 to 2003 and completed at the end of 2004. It comprises offices, a crisis centre, state archives and a 100% guaranteed computer centre which, in case of emergency, can direct all the sluice gates of the province of Zeeland, including the Delta works. Use is made of sustainable building processes, natural materials and energy-saving technology. The available natural resources of water, sun and earth are harnessed to the maximum in and around the office.

The architecture, materials and detailing are taut and carefully assembled, entirely in line with the high-tech image of the department. Striking features are the two facades. The south facade is fitted with horizontal lamellae, tilted downward to shield sunlight, but tilted upward near the ceilings to form reflectors that bring light deeper into the office floors. By contrast, the facade shielded from the sun has much more the character of traditional curtain glass, although the protruding jambs preventing diagonal views into the building. A large entrance void with staggered balconies faced in bamboo forms the dynamic centre of the otherwise soberly designed, flexible office floors.