In 2006, Statistics Netherlands held a competition for the design of their new premises in Heerlen, which was won by the combination of IPMMC Vastgoed and Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten.
With the closure of the mines in the 1970s, nearly all traces of the region’s coal mining past were erased. The only remaining element in Heerlen is a lift tower that stands on the edge of the site. A less visible but crucial remnant is an old capped mine shaft beneath the centre of the site. Its presence entailed very specific constraints in that nothing could be built above it. Instead, a light and spacious atrium was created with, precisely above the shaft, a floating glass artwork by Ellen Brouwers, which is suspended from the roof. The old mine is still highly relevant to the CBS: the water in the mine tunnels is used as thermal energy storage, the first project in Europe where this has been done. It makes for a considerable saving on energy consumption.
The atrium houses shared functions like the library and the canteen. The offices are located in the five wings which fan out to the plot boundary. The offices are accessed via lift groups placed strategically around the atrium. The office floors have a flexible layout; closed work spaces can be alternated with open-plan areas and more enclosed conference rooms.