‘De Inktpot’ (the Ink Bottle) was always described as being an indestructible colossus, but this colossus had become outdated where it came to working conditions. The exterior was blackened by pollution which caused an eery feeling, and also inside the beauty of the building was hidden.
The question we set ourselves was; how to optimize the qualities of the building, how to make sure the users can experience a daily pleasure and pride in their unique work environment?
To optimize the building it was important to plan functions in the best places, allow for flexibility and to work as a team with client, installations-advisor, contractor and users. Taking into account the wishes of the users and extra possibilities is both economical as well as time-saving, which leads to better quality.
The monument had in course of 80 years seen a number of ad hoc solutions to problems as draft, coldness, heat, sunlight and shortage of space. Many additions were made by building separationwalls, the closing off of staircases, an extra layer on top of the middle building, and even the inner courtyard had disappeared. The original ‘grandeur’ was still present, but you had to look closely to see it. An inner and outer clean up was due.
The facades have been cleaned and fixed where necessary and the windows regained their original color. On the interior the original tile panels and floors were restored. The toilet facilities have been renewed, with added disabled toilets, showers and dressing rooms. The overall division of spaces was revised; all later additions of walls, ceilings and floors were removed, which exposed the original columns, yokes and beams. The hallways, with their characteristic atmosphere regained their original purpose of meeting place, by placing coffee-spaces, pantries and printers. Evelyne Merkx took care of the inner decoration of the building.
The ventilation and climate was improved by placing thermal glass in the windows, blowing heated or in summer cooled air from high into the rooms, which then circulates through the hallways en staircases. These measurements met the requirements of the RGD standards, which in that time (2002) was quite an achievement in a monument.
The blackened, lonely-looking building regained after a thorough renovation its former light and visibility, a place where people like to come to. A magnificent example of the brick architecture of the New Age. A headquarters of the National Railways to be rightly proud of again.