The selected design is a tall steel building with a sophisticated double glass facade, measuring 156 metres long x 107 metres high x 24.7 metres wide. The building is a bold example of contemporary architecture, symbolising the EPO’s mission to foster innovation in Europe.
Hiding behind the prominent high-rise is the innovatively designed, four-storey extension. It houses, amongst other things, an extended seating area of the restaurant and eight meeting rooms for oral proceedings. Glass, steel, plants and various colours have been used to create an interesting design.
The building's design places a strong focus on sustainability. The builders have minimised its impact on the environment while ensuring very healthy, safe and comfortable indoor conditions for our staff and visitors. To ensure sustainability, a mix of criteria from the Netherland's BREEAM-NL and the German BNB methods of environmental assessment were included in the requirements for the building.
Construction started in 2014 and the new building was inaugurated on 27 June 2018. Work to demolish the old tower is expected to end in mid-2020. Landscaping and other work to finalise the site are scheduled for completion in May 2021.
The old building - now 40 years old - suffered from natural ageing, exacerbated by recent harsh winters, and also no longer met the needs of our staff. As of 2018, thanks to the capacity of the new building, staff will be at a single, modern site and no longer at different locations.
The new office has a surface of 85 000 m2 with working space for some 2000 staff. One of the EPO's requirements to the designers was to create an open and transparent building with a mix of standard offices, and shared spaces to ensure best conditions for new ways of co-operation - and space management.
A consortium of three companies belonging to the TBI group (one of the largest providers of construction, mechanical and electrical services in the Netherlands) working in cooperation with two leading architecture firms, Ateliers Jean Nouvel (Paris) and Dam & Partners Architecten (Amsterdam), were chosen to design and construct the building.
Following an open, international pre-qualification phase, the invitation to tender for the design and construction of the new building was issued on 23 April 2012.
In this first round of the tender procedure proper, ten consortia were invited to submit a bid. Eight of them submitted a valid bid by the deadline of early July 2012. An international jury met on 31 July 2012 to select the best three for consideration in the second, non-anonymous round. The three shortlisted consortia were asked to elaborate on their initial bids and submit a preliminary design.
The jury met again in January 2013 to assess these detailed bids and recommend one for the contract award. The EPO President submitted the jury's recommendation to the Administrative Council's Budget and Finance Committee, which cleared it for final approval by the Council. The Council then gave the go-ahead to award the contract to the selected bidder in June 2013.