The Aramco Overseas Company head office has recently moved into their
new accommodation in The Hague. The new office, housed in an existing
building from the eighties, needed to be fully refurbished. Following a
selection in March 2009, GROUP A was chosen to carry out this
For AOC, a fast design and building process was of due importance. After
a short and intensive design phase,
GROUP A, together with Verwol Interior Builders, started with the actual
refurbishing of the new AOC office. Owing to the intensive cooperation of
the architect en the interior builder, it was possible to complete the
refurbishment in just twelve weeks. This meant that AOC could move into
their new office in August, as planned.
The design challenge the team stood for was to strengthen the rather
unobtrusive character of the existing building by means of a new interior.
GROUP A resolved this by designing an interior that uses the more
noticeable aspects of the existing building as a guiding principle, while
reflecting AOCs identity. This identity is based on the cultural background
of AOC, which is part of the Saudi-Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco. The
interior subtly refers to this background by using patterns, colors and
materials that are typical for Middle-Eastern architecture, in an abstract,
The building comprises two wings of five office floors each, situated around
a central atrium. GROUP As design strengthens the atriums function as
the heart of the building, and is based on the rationality of the existing building. It is fitted out with large cubic elements which serve as lighting
elements, and make the atrium glow with light. The atrium walls are
partially covered with mirroring glass, which leads to an unexpected play of
connections between the different floors. A meandering reception desk
serves as a connecting element between the atriums different functions
and areas, and as a guiding element for visitors.
The concept for the offices on the upper floors is based on a combination
between a classical cellular office and a more informal open office layout.
By inserting a continuous wooden element over the full length of each
floor, visual coherence is ensured. This element at the same time serves as
an entrance to the cellular offices, and comprises cabinets, wardrobes and
seating units. The other divisions are mainly made up by glass screens,
covered with an abstract, semi-transparent print. Glass and wood, open
and closed are deployed in such a way that there is maximum use of
daylight. The original concrete walls, which are visible at a number of
places throughout the building, are covered in textiled panels, like large
paintings. Shared functions, like the break-out which is located on every
individual floor, are situated along the atrium. On the ground floor, the
office wings house a number of special facilities, among which a restaurant,
an exhibition area and a prayer room.
Verwol became involved in the project at the start of the refurbishment.
The interior builders were responsible for building and supervising the
entire project, taking responsibility for a large number of special features.
The company has, amongst others, built the reception desk, the restaurant
buffets, pantries and benches, as well as the multifunctional spatial
elements that serve as dividing elements on the office floors, which are
finished in oak veneer. The cooperation between AOC, GROUP A and
Verwol was very successful, making it possible to create an exceptional
project in an exceptionally short period of time.