Located in Oosterhout, the Netherlands, the headquarters of DistriFill prove that functional architecture does not necessarily have to be simple or boring. Instead, architect Harrie Pans from Bureau Phi opted for a Granite® Impression Cloudy finish on the building’s front facade to give the complex a human scale. Produced by ArcelorMittal Flat Carbon Europe, Granite® Impression Cloudy is an organic coated steel which was developed for aesthetic architectural applications such as facades and roofs.
The DistriFill building includes offices, public areas and a warehouse for the storage of the company’s range of plant nutrients and organic chemicals. The overall design of the building is conceived as a simple rectangle. Composed of a steel structure, the bulk of the building is clad in anthracite-coloured steel sandwich panels.
The choice of steel for the bulk of the structure was largely down to the client’s brief. “Steel is very easy to assemble and quick to install. But the main reason we selected steel was because it looks clean,” notes Pans. “This was a very important consideration for our client as it reflects the values which are important to their business.”
The offices are at the front of the building and it is here that Bureau Phi has utilised Granite® Impression Cloudy. “We needed a finish that lives a little. Otherwise there was a risk the building could have appeared to be a uniform dark block. The copper and brown colours in the Granite® Impression Cloudy make the facade look warmer and give the building a more human aspect.”
Granite® Impression Cloudy typically has a pattern which repeats every metre. Bureau Phi has offset the Granite® Impression Cloudy panels to reinforce the brick-like horizontal lines between the panels. The repeating pattern creates a series of diagonal lines which add vertical interest to the facade when it is viewed from a distance.
“Our customer is very happy with the finish,” says Pans. “It is not a normal uniform-colour and it fulfils their brief that you should be able to ‘feel’ the facade and that it should be on a human scale.”