In the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a stunning skyscraper has taken root, changing the face of urban living. Valley, a multi-purpose, green-infused high-rise designed by MVRDV Architects, has officially opened its doors, heralding a new era of sustainable, integrated city living. This award-winning development combines residential, commercial, and cultural spaces within a breathtaking vertical forest, offering a vibrant oasis amidst the city’s bustling business district. Valley’s unique design, innovative engineering, and commitment to sustainability have captured the imagination of urban planners and residents alike, redefining what is possible for the future of urban environments.
Valley Technical Information
- Architects1-17: MVRDV
- Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Client: EDGE
- Topics: Apartments, Skyscrapers
- Area: 75,000m2
- Project Year: 2015 – 2022
- Diagrams and Drawings: © MVRDV
- Photographs: © Ossip van Duivenbode
How do you make an office district liveable? What should the homes be like? What else is needed? Those were the questions we started with when we designed Valley. Instead of a one-note business centre, this site along Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam is now a symphony of life – people working, yes, but also barbecuing on their terraces, visitors relaxing in the valley, shopping in the grotto, eating dinner by the street, and even the window cleaners and the gardeners scaling the heights above. Valley is a first step towards transforming this part of Amsterdam into a greener, denser, and more human city.– Winy Maas, Founding Partner, MVRDV
The Valley Photographs
Revolutionizing Urban Living: Valley, MVRDV’s Green Dream
Valley, the dramatic, geology-inspired, plant-covered high-rise designed by MVRDV, is a 75,000-square-metre building that was recently declared the world’s best new skyscraper by the Emporis Awards. The building stands out in Amsterdam’s Zuidas neighborhood with its three towers of 67, 81, and 100 meters and its spectacular cantilevered apartments.
The building distinguishes itself in several ways: firstly, it combines offices, shops, catering, cultural facilities, and apartments in one building; secondly, unlike the closed-off buildings elsewhere in the Zuidas, the green valley that winds between the towers on the fourth and fifth floors is accessible to everyone via two external stone staircases. The building’s extensive planting, designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf, hosts approximately 13,500 young plants, shrubs, and trees. As these mature over the coming years, they will give Valley an increasingly green appearance, making the building a manifesto for a greener city.
Valley is an attempt to bring a green and human dimension back to the inhospitable office environment of Amsterdam Zuidas. It is a building with multiple faces; on the outer edges of the building is a shell of smooth mirrored glass, which fits the context of the business district. Inside this shell, the building has a completely different, more inviting natural appearance, as if the glass block has crumbled away to reveal craggy rock faces inside replete with natural stone and greenery.
Various locations throughout the three-tower complex offer breathtaking views of the city – the apartments, of course, but especially the sky bar at the top of the tallest tower, which visitors can access via the Molteni flagship store on the ground floor.
The building’s layout is tailored to a mixture of residents, workers, and visitors: on top of the three-story underground car park, offices occupy the lower seven floors, with apartments located on the eighth floor and up. Much of the building is open to the public: from the publicly accessible footpath that zig-zags up to the central valley from the street level to the Grotto, an atrium that forms a covered street on the first floor where the Sapiens Lab – a breeding ground for young scientists – will soon open.
The grotto is connected to the outside by two large skylights that double as shallow water pools in the valley level above, and its natural stone flooring, walls, and ceilings – the same stone used on the surfaces of the valley and towers – makes clear that all the public areas of the building are part of the same apparently geological formation.
The design and construction of Valley are utterly bespoke, requiring the sustained commitment of hundreds of designers, engineers, builders, consultants, and of course, the client. The enormously complex shape required a special commitment to fine detailing that further enhances the design concept.
MVRDV’s technology experts created a series of custom digital tools to perfect the building, from a tool that ensured every apartment had adequate light and views to a program that made possible the apparently random pattern of over 40,000 stone tiles of varying sizes that adorn the building’s façades.
Each of the 200 apartments has a unique floorplan, made possible by the interior designs by Heyligers Architects. And the outlandish cantilevers of the towers are possible thanks to innovative engineering, including eleven steel “specials” bolted to the concrete building that takes the overall appearance to the next level.
Urban Greenery: Piet Oudolf’s Plant Matrix Brings Valley to Life
Landscape architect Piet Oudolf developed a matrix to select the right plants for each location in the building, taking into account factors such as wind, sunlight, temperature, and maintenance. Trees, for example, are largely found on the lower floors, while the uppermost levels mainly support small plants.
In total, more than 271 young trees and shrubs and approximately 13,500 smaller plants occupy the natural stone planters, representing 220 different plant species. In the coming years, the building will mature into the lush appearance of the design team’s vision as the greenery continues to grow.
The biodiversity of this landscape is further supported by bird- and bat boxes as well as various bee and insect hotels. Maintained using an automatic irrigation system and by “façade gardeners”, the trees and plants on the terraces will positively affect the well-being of people living and working in Valley.
Valley combines insights into the field of sustainability, technology, and health. The building’s energy performance is 30% better than local regulations require, it has received BREEAM-NL Excellent certification for commercial spaces, and the residential area scored an 8 out of 10 on the GPR Building Scale, a Dutch measurement tool that scores buildings across five themes of energy, environment, health, quality of use, and future value. The latest smart technologies are integrated into the office spaces, including IP-based Building Automation Systems and various sensors linked to monitoring actual usage.
The construction of Valley took four years, with the first residents and entrepreneurs moving into the building at the end of 2021.
The Valley Plans
The Valley Image Gallery
MVRDV is an internationally renowned architecture and urban design firm based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries, the firm’s name is an acronym derived from the founders’ surnames. MVRDV is known for its innovative, cutting-edge designs that often challenge conventional architectural norms and explore new ways to integrate sustainability, technology, and urban living. The firm has completed a diverse range of projects, including residential buildings, public spaces, and urban planning initiatives, each showcasing their commitment to creating unique, transformative spaces that positively impact the lives of people and communities around the world.
- Principal in charge: Winy Maas
- Partner: Jeroen Zuidgeest
- Director: Gideon Maasland
- Competition: Anton Wubben, Luca Moscelli, Sanne van Manen, Elien Deceuninck, Marco Gazzola, Jack Penford Baker, Brygida Zawadzka, Francis Liesting, Annette Lam, Hannah Knudsen Design Team: Gijs Rikken and Gideon Maasland with Guido Boeters, Wietse Elswijk, Saimon Gomez Idiakez, Rik Lambers, Javier Lopez-Menchero, Sanne van Manen, Stephanie McNamara, Thijs van Oostrum, Frank Smit, Boudewijn Thomas, Maria Vasiloglou, Laurens Veth, Cas Esbach, Mark van Wasbeek, Olesya Vodenicharska
- Contractor: G&S Bouw B.V., Boele & Van Eesteren B.V.
- Landscape Design: Piet Oudolf, DeltaVorm Groep
- Interior design: Heyligers Architects
- Engineering: Inbo
- Cost Calculator: BBN adviseurs
- Structural Engineer: Van Rossum Raadgevende
- Ingenieurs Installations: Deerns, DWA
- Building Physics and Fire Safety: DGMR
- Parametric Design Volume: ARUP
- Real Estate Consultant: CBRE, Heeren Makelaars
- Graphic Design: PlusOne Model: made by mistake
- Building Owner: RJB Group of Companies
- Sustainability certification: BREEAM-NL Excellent (commercial spaces)