For the ING bank and insurance group architects Meyer and van Schooten designed a rounded and shining volume on legs. Its shape is determined by the narrow location beside the body of a motorway. A meticulously maintained lawn at ground level is lit to make the place shine day and night. A broad foot path with a finely chiseled stone surface runs next to the main axis to a lake, ending in a jetty.
Inside the building gardens provide visual relief and help users and visitors to find their way. The space between undergrowth and leafy crowns above is free from vegetation for an unobstructed view. Various species of plants and unusual ground covers add their own distinction.
The bamboo garden is situated at ground level directly connected with the entrance lobby. A rarefied group of forty bamboo trees grow in a cover of Japanese river pebbles, interspersed with ficus plants. This garden is repeated on floors higher up.
Next to the foyer on the second floor four quirky trees, tropical members of the fig family, stand in a grove at the bottom covered with oak planks, weathered in a grey colour by putting them outside for a year. Low ferns grow between cracks.
On the third floor, the loggia at the North side features a subtropical climate. Tree ferns of different species and sizes create a jungle atmosphere. Big chunks of rusty brown lava stones cover the ground, mixed with clivias, bright orange in March.
The loggia at the South side has lots of sun. On the terrace each of nine tree boxes contain a Livingstonia palm with hand shaped leaves on long, elegantly sagging stalks. The ash wood boxes can be moved for receptions.
In top the roof opens for an atrium featuring eight Scots firs. Typical of a Dutch pine forest, this garden contrasts sharply with the surrounding Dutch landscape. Peat bricks cover the ground and grow ferns, blueberries and Japanese anemones.
The same top floor opens up to the morning sun with a small loggia. Five planters contain jagged lime trees. The yellow fruit is visible from afar on the motorway.
ING Real Estate
Meijer & van Schooten
Michael van Gessel