Rotterdam Pernis


8000 m2 offices, visitor centre, training centre, sports facilities, parking, hotel, restaurant and petrol station




2007, unbuilt



Located in Pernis, to the west of Rotterdam, is Nerefco, Europe’s newest and largest oil refinery.
This location balances precariously on the boundary that separates an industrial zone from the Biesbosch nature preserve. The company promotes itself as innovative, progressive and green. That is why the proposed main building must express collaboration in a healthy environment, with the most efficient possible use of space. Other items on the agenda include energy saving through the use of surplus heat from the refinery, and energy production through solar collectors. In short, the design exudes a progressive company.

A decisive factor to influence the design is the threat of explosions from the cracking units a short distance away. The office is an artificial dune with its open side turned away from the refinery, a ‘stealth’ form that makes it invulnerable to explosions. 

The more private office areas are arranged as galleries around a central court containing open workspaces and general spaces such as the hall, library, restaurant and fitness area. Plenty of space is available inside the building for large-scale greenery.

From the galleries, occupants enjoy a wonderful view across the water to the Biesbosch. The grass roof is fitted with transparent solar panels, which meet a substantial amount of the building’s energy needs.