Veilige Veste

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

The zigzagging white facade – made of a composite material – gives the building a strong presence in its forest setting. Meanwhile, vertical wooden strips line the ground floor exterior, connecting the building to its wooded environs.

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

Ground floor plan courtesy of architect

The 1,600 m2 (17,222 ft2) ground floor contains offices, meeting rooms, and treatment rooms.

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

Second floor plan courtesy of architect

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

On the upper two levels – behind the white panels – there are 6 residential units for 48 girls. An inner courtyard – inspired by the Italian patio – brings light into the second floor rooms. Over time, gardens will fill out the courtyard, complementing the wood and bronze-colored cladding.

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

The building prior to renovation

The original police office building – built in the early 1970’s – had its concrete structure on the exterior. This configuration created thermal bridge between the interior and exterior. The Dutch architect KAW Architects – with an Italian-born project architect Beatrice Montesano – covered the energy-inefficient facade with thickly-insulated white panels. They succeeded, as the first large office renovation project, in meeting the Netherlands’ Passive House standard. Veilige Veste requires 15 kWh / m2  of heating energy per year in contrast to 50 kWh / m2 per year in average new houses in the Netherlands.

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

The panelized facade cladding is not only efficient in energy footprint. The diagonally-angled white panels effectively reflect the subtle sunlight, giving the building a dramatic appearance.

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

JA+U : Veilige Veste by KAW Architects ©KAW Architects

Below is a video showing the construction followed by an excerpt from the architect’s description of the project:

Covering the whole building with especially designed square composite elements; that is how architect Beatrice Montesano translated the work of the previous mentioned artists in the transformation of the old police station.  The strict 12 by 12 foot grid constituting the building inspired Montesano to design the diagonally angled squares, that are positioned alternately to create a diamond shape pattern that covers the building. After more than ten years in the Netherlands, Montesano is still moved by the amazing changes of light that are characteristic of the Dutch landscape. ‘I still think the light here is incredibly beautiful. The white façade, with its subtle gleam, interacts with its environment; you see the air and the trees reflected in them, changing shapes from every different angle and different time of the day.’