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Background story: Philips office building

The office building (coded ‘VB’) is a technical masterpiece, designed by architectural firm Verhave, Luyt, De Iongh. Upon completion, it was equipped with the most modern facilities such as pneumatic mail, fully automatic air heating, a fully mobile window cleaning installation and parking space for around 300 vehicles. For years, when darkness fell, the building turned into a ‘wall of light’ through the use of the many Philips fluorescent tubes.

The office building, former headquaters of Philips The Netherlands, consists of two architectural volumes. The more general functions, such as a large company restaurant and the luxurious entrance zone, were located in the low building volume. Offices were housed in the higher volume. The construction of this high-rise is special. The floors are not supported by columns, but are attached to steel hanging posts. This makes the floors freely divisible. The high-rise is a state monument.

Glas wall dividing the restaurant from the entrance hall. Art work designed by Harry op de Laak.

The Board of Directors decided in 1962 that the building should be decorated with visual art and made a generous amount of 50,000 guilders available for this purpose. Works by reknown Dutch artists such as Lex Horn, and Daan Wildschut were purchased. Wally Elenbaas was commisioned to make a monumental piece of art in the entrance zone.

Art by Wally Elenbaas

At the opening ceremony in December 1964, L. de Kok, director of Philips The Netherlands, called the office the ‘most beautiful building in Eindhoven’. He regarded it as a ‘show piece’ for domestic and foreign relations because of all the Philips products and products which ware applied. Unfortunately, almost all art has disappeared, and the low-rise building has also been drastically modified and reduced in size. This part of the building is therefore not a part of the national monument.

The original VB building in the sixties. Image: RHCE 

In 2011, Philips announced that it would leave Vredeoord. Housing corporation Trudo bought the site. Several office towers were demolished and with the redevelopment of the area, the corporation focused on creating a child-friendly, green, sustainable and social district. Office builidng VB has been bought by Ten Brinke. In collaboration with the municipality and TU/e, the interior of the office building was renovated in the summer of 2023. About 450 temporary student residences have now been realized.

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