We’re worked with Schiphol Real Estate and more than 70 stakeholders and experts on boosting sustainability and performance of the Schiphol Central Business District with the concept of a Catalytic multi-tenant office design. The project has the ambition to realize an integrated sustainable and self sufficient area, that is a healthy and inspiring place to work, with a footprint of over 20.000 m2 in an unprecedented sustainable and future proof building.


Inspiring, Healthy, Future-proof offices

As an example of a truly catalytic building design, this project delivers a concept for a new office typology that boost the health and performance of people in the offices by as much as 20%. That means that the health benefits alone outweigh the construction costs. In addition, the building is highly flexible, allowing tenants to clearly express their identity and change their working environment to changing working modes over time.

These offices are nothing like the workspaces you’re familiar with, but more like lush gardens with a desk. This typology isn’t just good for its inhabitants, it transforms the areas into centers that close resource loops, that are energy-positive, fully circular in water and waste, and that produce part of their own food. Most importantly, they provide maximized flexibility to adapt to future working conditions through innovative resilience strategies, both in design and in business models. This makes them great investments for the short and long term.


Together with Schiphol Group we investigated the possibility to accommodate increasing demand for office and parking space at the WTC with 20.000 m2 of multifunctional floor space in a new high performance building. We see this as an opportunity to enhance the quality of the area as whole, to increase its sustainability, and thus create long term value for Schiphol. Simultaneously, it aims to preserve the green qualities of this last plot of open space at the CBD.

Using our SiD approach, over the course of three co-creation sessions, we developed a set of actionable, measurable performance goals for the building, that far exceeded those of existing sustainability labels for buildings such as BREEAM and WELL. These goals range from strategic goals like Schiphol CBD becoming the national center for companies with a global perspective, world class sustainability performance, and an outstanding experience for residents and travelers, to user goals like creating a healthy, comfortable working environment, as part of a vibrant community. Making these goals more measurable, we boiled them down to goals on Energy, Materials, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Culture, Economy & Logistics, and Health & Wellbeing.

  • These goals for the Catalyst represents the most pioneering sustainability performance for
    an office building in the world to date. And the Catalyst proves it can be done, realistically.
    A great day for Schiphol, and a great day for sustainable cities around the world.

    Tom Bosschaert

    Catalyst Program Director


The concept consists of a core program of parking and offices, business facilities, public space and public facilities, organized within a single main volume. The bottom layers make space for most of the parking functions, and (emergency) water storage facilities. Topping that off is an elevated lush landscape ecosystem, that facilitates achieving the sustainability goals, and the metabolism of the structure. The landscape ecosystem is contained in a transparent enclosure, to deal with Schiphol's restrictions on bird life, health and safety measures, and to allow some control over the elements.

Strewn within the park are multiple office module pavilions. These are built on stilts that keep the landscape open. They are flexible enough to allow for cyclical renovation and relocation, and permit a wide range of designs to allow for individual company expression.

The entire structure works as a circular catalyst within the CBD. It goes beyond the usual solar panels and grey water systems, and aims to close multiple resource flow loops within the area. This means that the concept steps away from importing resources and using them once, but optimizes its systems to create as little waste as possible in water, energy, air pollution, goods, and food. Where possible, it even taps into waste flows from the neighboring buildings in the CBD, making it a truly catalytic building.

circular schematic catalyst.jpg
circular flows catalyst.jpg

July 27, 2016

Client & Partners

  • Schiphol-Estate-logo-fc_profile_logo.jpg

Project team

  • Tom Bosschaert


  • Antonia Sore


  • Luca Gennari

    Environmental Engineering Consultant

  • Albertien Perdok

    Ecosystem Designer

  • Arjan Luiten

    Sustainable Spatial Designer & Architect

  • Bart Stoffels

    Urban planner, process manager

  • Elsa Semin

    Sustainable Cities Intern

  • Libera Amenta

    Urban Planner, Metabolism & Circularity

  • Marta Suanzes


  • Michiel van der Vight

    Senior Associate

  • Mirjam Schmüll

    Urban strategist, process manager

  • Bart Verhagen

    Quality Control
    Rotterdams Ontwikkelcollectief

  • Cecile van Oppen

    Business Modeling