Located in the north of the Netherlands, Leeuwarden is known for its flat and watery landscape. So it comes as some surprise to find one of the most modern climbing centres in Europe towering above the historic city. Known as the Klimcentrum Noardwand, the building is immediately noticeable thanks to the ‘cabin’ at the top which is made from Granite® Silky Shine, an organic coated steel by ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products. The Siena/Red colour of the panels changes with the sunlight and the time of day, giving the building a unique identity and acting as a magnet for climbing enthusiasts.
Design of the Klimcentrum Noardwand began in 2016 with the idea to expand an existing gymnasium and its catering facility to create a sports centre with more diversity. As the plot of land adjacent to the gymnasium was limited in size, it was decided to build on top of the existing building and create a link to the catering facility located on the second floor. The original building had been designed by Richard Benneker from Vaessen, a construction company which specialises in designing and building sports facilities. For that reason, the developer (BV Sport) turned to him for the design.
“The new structure is dedicated to climbing,” says Richard Benneker. “The roof of the existing building was made of steel roofing plates and concrete supported by brick walls. To support the 20-metre high climbing walls of the new facility, we needed add a new floor above that existing roof.”
The climbing centre was built on top of an existing gymnasium [©Bouwwereld]
Those adjustments involved adding seven steel columns inside the existing building. They were capped with a 28-metre steel beam to support the climbing centre floor. “Steel is well adapted to extensions and it's a light material,” says Richard Benneker. “That made it easy to change the existing roof and add the new steel frame. And the construction could be carried out while the gymnasium remained in use.”
While most of the structure was clad in an aluminium composite, Richard Benneker wanted something remarkable for the ‘ski cabin’ at the top: “I’ve used Granite® Silky Shine in Gold before and I wanted to make it a part of this structure. But some members of the planning authority thought that gold was too flashy for the building. Levi Kleinjan, our contact at ArcelorMittal Construction, suggested Granite® Silky Shine in Siena/Red as an alternative. And it was the perfect choice. It still changes colour with the light and time of day and looks very chic. A combination of colours come through, but often the bright gold I originally wanted to use appears. I love this and it is beautiful for this facade.”
The structure of the Klimcentrum Noardwand takes shape in Leeuwarden [© Vaessen]
Despite the success of this project in Granite® Silky Shine Sienna/Red, Richard Benneker is still passionate about the colour of Granite® Silky Shine Gold: “Very soon after Granite® Silky Shine was introduced we had great success with the Gold. It is outstanding among the other colours available in the range. In the Netherlands we have very dark winters, so you need light. Granite® Silky Shine Gold makes every day sunny.”
“At the moment, architects are looking for colour, typically very bright or natural colour,” notes Levi Kleinjan from ArcelorMittal Construction. “They want something new and fresh. Granite® Silky Shine is quite popular due to its unique colour palette. At the other end of the spectrum, ArcelorMittal’s Indaten® weathering steel is highly sought after because of its natural look.”
The colour of Granite® Silky Shine Sienna/Red changes throughout the day [© ArcelorMittal Construction Tiel]
Levi Kleinjan offers a unique service for architects and builders as he explains: “We specialise in producing non-standard shapes and forms. All architects want their projects to stand out. We can tailor-make profiles for any project or design. As I say to my customers, show me your idea and I will find a solution for you. An architect always find a solution with us.”
It’s an approach appreciated by architects such as Richard Benneker: “After I ask Levi how he can solve my problem he comes with solutions and samples. There is always a solution that fits my project. I have dozens of samples in my office, all from Levi. If I want to use a specific profile, he will arrive with profiled samples.”
Levi Kleinjan can provide colour and profiled examples of ArcelorMittal’s products in a very short time: “Colour samples are usually sent out very quickly. For small profiles – for example, a scaled model of a panel that can fit on a desk – the lead time is around two weeks. Life-sized samples of shapes and profiles can be provided but they take a little longer.”
Richard Benneker sees the advantages of using steel in the type of projects his office develops: “I like the idea that steel can be re-used infinitely. And for facades, steel cladding is an advantage because of its light weight. That means we can use a lighter construction to carry the facade.”
State-of-the-art artificial rock walls enable climbers to scale heights up to 25 metres [© Vaessen]
ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products offers a complete range of organic coated steels for interior and exterior construction. The steels, which include products such as the Granite® and Estetic® ranges, have many applications in facades, roofing, and furnishing.
ArcelorMittal is continuing to develop its organic coated product offer in three main ways to answer market demands: