VERO’s work with EDGE on the Valley project in Amsterdam
A specimen of modern architectural ingenuity
The Valley Project is a spectacular, geology-inspired structure in the Zuidas neighborhood in Amsterdam. It has offices, shops, catering, cultural facilities, and apartments in one building.
The building has an unorthodox design with three towers, 67, 81, and 100 meters tall. There is a green valley that winds between the towers on the fourth and fifth floors, and is accessible to everyone via two external stone staircases.
With cantilevered apartments and a plant-covered design, the Valley Project is a unique structure that deservedly won the 2021 Emporis Skyscraper Awards’ Best New Skyscraper In The World prize.
Here’s what Jules Maessen had to say about the project:
How significant is this project in VERO’s history?
In many ways, it was the first project that we did under the VERO name – it’s like a starting point. One thing I am grateful for is the fact that the developer gave us license to explore new ideas, to push new technologies. So in a way, this project is a sort of metaphor for our own business success – the VERO and Valley story.
The building itself is also quite special. From the outside it looks quite complex, and it's a beautiful building. It has a huge inner atrium – they call it a grotto. It has unique features. What's really nice about this is that, in a way, it almost forced us to think about new solutions and new technologies.
It is, of course, one of the most iconic buildings in the Netherlands right now. A reference like that is great to have, but the fact that we were able to deliver at such a high level from the very get-go also says quite a bit about VERO.
When you think about the Valley Project, what are you most proud of?
I'm not sure ‘proud’ is the word I'd use. What I feel is gratitude. What's special about it is the journey it went through. I’m grateful we were a part of it. We were part of this journey from inception, making the renders for the acquisition all the way to the final part where the lucky tenants received the keys.
Looking at what we stand for, we're all about adding value and acceleration. This is probably the first project where we did that from start to end. We supported the whole process – creating images to get the story across, making an amazing movie, an immersive VR experience, getting commercial tenants to sign up, and then creating a unique customer experience with our tools to support the residential rental.
How did it all start?
I happened to meet one of the directors at a network dinner for startups. At that time we weren't even called VERO – it was just me and two guys. EDGE, which incidentally wasn’t EDGE either at the time, were trying to get visualization services for their project.
They needed high-quality assets to convince the municipality to give them the go-ahead to proceed with the project, and also to get investors to come on board. But what they were getting just wasn't hitting the mark.
I offered to send over five sample images at no charge. They would name a price themselves based on how they rated the work. A few days later, I got a call. The rest is history.
From the VERO perspective, what factors were crucial to making this work?
Back in the day when we started, we were one of the first ones to do everything fully in 3D. The norm in those days was to purely create a render of a building, and then just Photoshop greenery, people, and stuff onto it.
Valley is such a complex project in terms of landscaping and greenery. Every little plateau has its own foliage with tiny details, and we created everything accordingly, fully in 3D. We really pushed the limit of what was possible technically. We even had to last-minute upgrade hardware to make it happen. Along the way, we fully adopted new tech like the Unreal Engine while people were only just starting to consider it.
That ethos continued throughout our partnership.
What are some of the innovations you brought in to support the project?
We created images, then video – an animation movie. We created a fully immersive VR experience using VR headsets, which provided a powerful experience for the commercial tenants. Due to the complexity of Valley this was really giving people the needed understanding of the building.. We went back and made more images for marketing, interior design, that sort of thing.
Motion images, an interactive touch screen application that was integrated with the clients CRM system, virtual tours – both online and touch based, an interior design configurator, a gallery, and user interaction with elements in the building. Everything for their marketing and sales suite.
The project started in 2016, and the last phase we developed was 2021, and over those five years, we had the pleasure of getting the space to try all sorts of new tech.
What value has EDGE received from your partnership?
I would say many of the same values drive us: having the latest tools to convince people, staying ahead of the curve, but also functionally really making an impact. Yes, it needs to look amazing – top of the market in terms of experience, but above all, it needs to be functional and add value. For us, value is acceleration – we accelerate processes for developers.
For EDGE, that meant getting images that would transmit their vision and get them selected for the plot. It meant later on convincing the municipality over details like materials, dimensions and such. It meant getting tenants excited and committed to the project at an early stage when nothing is there yet but vision, and creating assets for the investor that would later on buy the structure and lease the units out in no time.
For us, especially for a project as unique as this, this demanded true understanding of the developer’s vision, the story behind it, and the skills to build the vehicle to deliver that experience even before its actualization.
To many outsiders, the concept seemed outlandish, like a pipe dream. We had many comments all over the internet that we just made beautiful renders that would never become reality. So it is gratifying to see in real life that the vision of the developer and architect truly came alive..
The Valley Project is an iconic landmark in the heart of the financial district of Amsterdam. Its success is down to the architects and the developer for making it all possible. Valley shall always remain part of the legacy that made VERO, being able to contribute in all stages along the way was a wonderful journey that gave us all the space to evolve into the VERO we are now today.
See more about Valley case here.
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