Solid as a rock: Award-winning geological skyscraper finally completed
Recently hailed as the world's best new skyscraper, Valley has now finally been declared officially complete by designer MVRDV. Even by the eclectic Dutch studio's usual standards it's an eye-catching project and takes the form of three "geology inspired" rocky towers that have odd angular shapes, and significant greenery.
Valley is located in Amsterdam's business district and includes offices, apartments, retail space and cultural areas. Its three connected towers reach a maximum height of 67 m (220 ft) 81 m (265 ft), and 100 m (328 ft).
The outer edges of the three towers are finished in smooth mirrored glass, which is meant to complement the nearby gleaming office buildings in the business district, while the inner areas are envisioned as craggy rock faces made up of natural stone. Its awkward jagged edges look random but the design was actually painstakingly calculated using specialist software to maximize daylight and views inside. It also creates multiple private terraced areas and other terraces which are open to the public, as well as impressive cantilevering apartments.
There's a lot more greenery on it than appears at first glance too. Landscape architect Piet Oudolf installed over 271 young trees and 13,500 smaller plants and shrubs, which will mature over the coming years and slowly transform Valley's appearance. Their location was chosen to ensure optimal amounts of account of wind, sunlight and temperature, and to take into account maintenance requirements. Biodiversity is increased with bird and bat boxes, as well as bee and other insect habitats.
"The design and construction of Valley is utterly bespoke, requiring the sustained commitment of hundreds of designers, engineers, builders, consultants, and of course the client," explained MVRDV. "The enormously complex shape required a special commitment to fine detailing that further enhances the design concept. MVRDV's technology experts created a series of custom digital tools to perfect the building, from a tool that ensured every apartment had adequate light and views, to a program that made possible the apparently random pattern of over 40,000 stone tiles of varying sizes that adorn the building's facades.
"Each of the 198 apartments has a unique floorplan, made possible by the interior designs by Heyligers Architects. And the outlandish cantilevers of the towers are possible thanks to innovative engineering, including eleven steel 'specials' bolted to the concrete building that take the overall appearance to the next level."
Valley has received the BREEAM-NL Excellent green building certification and features building automation systems and sensors to monitor energy usage. The building is also topped by solar panels, which reduce its draw on the grid.
The construction of Valley took four years to complete and an official opening ceremony was recently hosted by the building's owner, the RJB Group of Companies, and developer Edge.