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Published: Friday, May 04, 2007

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Sabic Europe Head Office

With the design deriving from the core values of the client, space is personalized to a whole new level in the new European head office of the Saudi-Arabian company Sabic.


Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
View of the large reception desk combines various functions to articulate a critical boundary between the public and the private.

Project Details

  • Project Name: Sabic Europe Head Office
  • Client: Sabic Europe
  • Project Type: Architectural and Interior Design
  • Design Team: Folkert van Hagen, Philip Vencken, Adam Visser, Maarten van Bremen, Birgitta Rottmann, Daan Rietbergen, Peter Brouwer, David Moreno Romero, Lolke Ket, Daniel Hoewekamp, Joep Fessl, Jos Overmars, Ebami Tom, Tom Neu, Roeland Dreissen, Daniel Gijsbers, Salla Lardot, Barbara Sluimers, Rolf van Gils
  • Project management: Arcadis Bouw, Amersfoort; Veldhoen + Company, Maastricht
  • Contractor: BAM Utiliteitsbouw bv, Regio Maastricht
  • Date of commencement of project: November 2003
  • Date of completion of project: September 2006
  • Location of site: Sittard, Netherlands
  • Built-up Area: 10.500 square meters
  • Cost of Construction: 17.6 Million Euros

Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
Exterior view of the building at night time.

The Building

The new European head office for the Saudi-Arabian petrochemical company Sabic in Sittard is designed to reflect the core values of client-renewal, transparency and approachability.

The head office with eight floors and a basement for parking is situated on a prominent site connected by a green axis with the Fortuna stadium.

The structural glass facade enables a high degree of transparency with the slanting roof made of aluminum panels and glass adding to the dynamism of the facade.

A corten steel sculpture by the Dutch artist Fons Schobbers marks the entrance to the building.

Blue neon lighting illuminates the two top floors, spreading a blue glow over Sittard.

Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
View of the interiors of the building looking down at the main reception from the cascading galleries above.

The interiors are attuned to the needs of the client. With its functions not being place bound; direct communication emerges critical.

In response to this the building contains no fixed offices, but various flexible zones: open offices, closed offices, spaces for teamwork, meeting rooms, rest zones and a restaurant which doubles as meeting place.

This office concept was developed in collaboration with Veldhoen + Company.

Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
Light and transparency characterize the design which derives from the core values of its client.

The funnel shaped, low entrance draws visitors into the heart of the building -- its atrium. This central space was created in response to spatial context and functional requirements such as climate control.

The six work storeys are placed as galleries round this atrium. The space surges up to the sky owing to the cascading galleries and the diagonal ceiling, creating a sense of lightness and rest.

A variety of functions such as reception, waiting space and coffee bar are incorporated in the large welcome desk, which winds its way across the ground floor.

It's "coiling form" derives from the Arabic alphabet. Also functioning as a security zone, the welcome desk articulates a boundary without over-defining it.

The plaza with its restaurant also serves as a meeting place outside working hours. The vitreous back wall is painted by German artist Vera Sous.

Another restaurant is situated at the eastern end of the building.

Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
The work floors are arranged as galleries around the atrium.

Since there are no individual offices, each floor is divided into a variety of different working zones.

In the centre, one finds the 'club area' for informal team building activities. The service units (containing wardrobes, pigeon holes, lockers and a room for technical and IT equipments) serve -- at the same time -- as a sound barrier to create a quiet working space.

The 'quiet zone' towards the periphery of the floor plate contains individual desks and a small lounge place, furnished with fauteuils. This lounge can be used for small meetings.

The second and the fifth floor however follow a slightly different layout.

The second floor plate runs around the whole building with a restaurant located on its western edge. Directly below it, on the first floor, a meeting room (with small balconies for the use of mobile phones) is suspended, resting on three beams.

A special boardroom and clubroom is located on the fifth floor accessible to the management only.

Architecture-Page | Sabic Europe Head Office by GROUP A
Exterior view of the new European Head office of the Saudi-Arabian company Sabic in Sittard.

To create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere the color palette is dominated by brown, warm grey and white. The strong red hue of the lounge zones set an accent in an otherwise restrained choice of colors.

The same materials such as French oak and white plastics (HPL) are used throughout the building. Light grey carpet covers the floors. Glass is used for most partition walls.


  • Text: Courtesy of the architect
  • Photographs by Christian Richters, Luuk Kramer, Courtesy of the architect
  • Compiled and edited by Varun Ajani

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