Contact & Route





Schiphol, Netherlands

Our goal was to find one structure which combines an architectural and technical concept for a 450 meters high sight-seeing tower as an icon for the Randstad. This tower will be an icon that unifies the different cities in the Randstad and also add a program to this specific location.

The building will represent the Randstad, for anybody who lives there, but more important, for the rest of the world. A building for when you enter Randstad and The Netherlands. Therefore the tower will be positioned at the place where most people enter the Netherlands: Schiphol airport. With regards to the obvious danger of planes flying closely to high rise buildings, it is placed at the only place at Schiphol which doesn’t get crosses by the approach routes of the airplanes: the center of the terminals.
Schiphol is currently dealing with tremendous capacity problems due to the ever increasing development of leisure functions at this location such as museums, cinemas and congress facilities. Part of this program should be accommodated in this tower.

The program is vertically distributed in the tower and the higher the public profile of each function is ,the higher in the building and the more transparent it will get. A grass shape is a natural form, and therefore random and undefined. To be able to grasp its character, yet have control over its shape the vertical elements have been perceived as dampened sinusoids. Every vertical element has been derived from the same sinusoid, but is different by rescaling techniques, and making them from different sections of the original shape. The floors and the façade follow these different sinusoids, thus creating a shape which appears to be totally random. However it is totally controllable by mathematical functions and structural systems. The random shape which has appeared has some beneficial properties when under wind load. Due to the rougher shape it has compared to a regular circle it is less sensitive to vortex shedding.

The forces which are caused by vertical and horizontal loads decrease towards the top; like the way a piece of grass ends in a triangular shape and becomes lighter, so should the steel structure do. This can be achieved in different ways. The number of elements can be reduced or the elements can decrease in size towards the top. For this design the last option was the best solution. The structure as a whole can be conceived as a façade tube system, which is a proven concept for high rise buildings. In this kind of system the deformation is mainly caused by the shear forces at the bottom, so by increasing the amplitude of the dampened sinusoid towards the bottom these forces will be distributed over the sinusoids and can partly be absorbed as axial forces (tension and compression).

The shape of the floor plan follows the structure. This is necessary because there will be a need for extra daylight within the building since it’s 60 m’s across. At the top, where the amplitude of the sinusoids is dampened this daylight issue is solved by increasing the floor height and thus allowing more light to enter the building.

This way the architectural concept and structural possibilities help each other to achieve a 450 meter tower, which appears random but in fact it is not.