EDGE Amsterdam West dome structure

Amsterdam
The original building at Basisweg 10 was a 48,000 m² office building with an inner garden constructed in the 1970s and designed by former de Architekten Cie architect Oyevaar. Located in the dynamic and transforming neighborhood of Amsterdam West, it was one of the first offices in the urban development area. In 2019, EDGE underwent a massive 60,000 m² redevelopment project led by the original architectural firm, Architekten Cie, in which the inner garden was covered with a gigantic 4,400 m² domed roof spanning 76 m. Consulting company G&S Bouw commissioned construction company ASK Romein to supply and assemble the gigantic supporting steel structure for the building’s remarkable glass dome.

About the project

The dome, conceived by Architects Cie with SIDstudio, was designed to relate to and reflect the shape of the existing building while also bringing it up to date and making it future-proof.

With a height of 12 meters and spanning a massive 76 m, the dome’s octagonal main structure is composed of circular hollow sections with a diameter of 324 mm and a variable wall thickness that created a grid of triangles (with sides roughly 8.3 m in length). A secondary triangle structure (radians of the first) creates surfaces bridged by glass panels.

A tension ring balances the permanent horizontal forces of the dome and is connected to it at four locations to create a solid second load path.

The engineering, production, and erection of the steel structure of the dome took around one year.

The micro-geometric design of the dome is a nod to the original design by Oyevaar, and the building now boasts an impressive green atrium, open staircases, and bright office floors.

Engineering challenges

ASK Romein faced many challenges in delivering this beautiful and complex design.

One of the biggest was collecting and assimilating large amounts of data sheets (on the beams, nodes, profiles, forces, etc.) to turn it into a structure they would actually be able to build on-site.

They performed a practical analysis of the data and divided the main 3D model into three types of knots (e.g., where six beams or eight beams came together), and calculated roughly 20 different node types per knot with five decisive combinations.

Knots required for the inner part of the dome included:

  • A-nodes: The connection of four primary bars and four secondary bars
  • B-nodes: The connection of eight primary bars
  • C-nodes: Connection of six primary bars
  • D-nodes: Edge connections
  • Connection secondary bars

Ultimately, the 'washing drum' knot principle was chosen. Here, the node is fixed, and the repeating part and bars are connected to it via a head plate connection. The node is identical within its kind (A, B, C) for each position.

Due to the complexity of the design, every situation required the beams to be at slightly different angles, or they had differing profiles, as well as different forces in those profiles.

Some of these calculations are not really possible by hand. When you have a single beam to connect, it's easy—you have one force, one situation. But when you have eight beams coming together with different forces and different moments in all directions… Without IDEA Connection, I wouldn't have been able to calculate some points or connections with the same reliability and precision.
Alexander van Beelen
Alexander van Beelen
Structural Engineer – ASK ROMEIN
Netherlands

The differences were processed in the endplates of the tubes. The reason for this two of three is that the tubes can be cut by machine, meaning much tighter tolerances can be achieved and deviations are minimized. The assembly nodes were checked with IDEA Connection by importing bar orientations from the drawing model and forces from the filtered tables of the main calculation model in Oasys GSA.

The team decided that for every node, they would model a vector (the average of all beams) that would show the direction the nodes should be in for every position (via arrows pointing toward the center).

The standard principles of the standard nodes were only properly modeled once and could then be copied and applied to many imported situations. In this way, it could be stated with certainty that all normative situations had been calculated and tested.

I didn't want to model the same node time and again. So, I picked out the decisive points in the structure and rotated them with the vector in the Z direction. This way, I could copy the same connection repeatedly and just input the cross-sections, the angles, and the size of the loads from an Excel sheet. This helped me a lot in calculating the size of the points for this structure.
Alexander van Beelen
Alexander van Beelen
Structural Engineer – ASK ROMEIN
Netherlands

Another really important thing for the team was to make the structure more predictable by choosing a standard detail that they thought would be strong enough and then running it through IDEA to check that this would be the case in every situation.

Their next big challenge was ensuring the stability of the structure during the build, for which IDEA Connection was essential.

You can't span 76 meters at once. So, we used height-adjustable columns to build a temporary support structure inside the atrium. That way, we could build the dome across the entire span with the supports in place and only remove them when we were finished.
Alexander van Beelen
Alexander van Beelen
Structural Engineer – ASK ROMEIN
Netherlands

Furthermore, in order to build the dome’s steel structure, a self-erecting construction crane was set up in the atrium that protruded through the temporary work platform and roof. Of course, this had to be dissembled before the dome was fully sealed.

Solutions and Results

The EDGE Amsterdam West Dome structure project was completed in Q3 of 2021, just one year after starting.

The previously unused inner garden has now been transformed into the new heart of the building­—an inspiring light-flooded atrium that serves as both a functional space suitable for meetings as well as a green urban oasis where workers can connect, relax and re-energize. A great place to experience the atrium and dome is from the large terraces on the first floor, which also serves as meeting spaces.

Eight round shafts were converted into light courts in order to invite even more natural daylight to each of the 6,700 m2 floors, and four imposing staircases replaced the elevator shafts to guide tenants in making healthy choices.

All facades of the building were completely renovated, and the windows were replaced by high bays containing high-quality glass. However, the character of the original building has been preserved thanks to a design that respects the rhythm of the bricks, bay windows, and horizontal aluminum slats.

Built to meet the highest sustainability, technology, and health standards, EDGE Amsterdam West is now a place where history, technology, and modern architecture meet to become a biophilic, sustainable, and inspiring office environment.

About ASK Romein

Founded in 2000, ASK Romein is a construction company group with offices in Belgium and the Netherlands, specializing in Total, Steel, Industrial, Offshore, Bridge, and Turnkey construction.

Through their own technical expertise and investment in complementary construction activities, they design and deliver all types of construction projects to their customers all over the world.

The firm won the category Large Building for this Edge Dome project in the IDEA StatiCa Excellence Awards 2021.

Learn what the engineer says about the project