Education Executive Agency and Tax Office

  • Costs reduced by integrating structures and services into one package.
  • Shape of the building is optimised using wind studies.
  • First government office building with the energy label 'in use BREEAM Excellent'
  • Voted 'the most beautiful new building in the city of Groningen' in 2011.

Our engineering design for this public-private partnership (PPP) project made use of a revolutionary new internal ventilation concept to creat one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the Netherlands. A landmark on the Groningen skyline, the 85m high office tower's distinctive shape ensures that it creates no wind interference for its nearest neighbours - a rare species of bat.

Designed by UNStudio, the Education Executive Agency and Tax Office comprises 46,000m2 of office space and a single-storey underground car park for 675 cars. On its roof is a public city garden for the community to enjoy. 

Saving energy

To keep energy consumption as low as possible, the building uses long-term energy storage. This enables 'coldness' to be drawn directly from the ground and used for cooling. Heat also comes from the ground and can be used for heating with the addition of very little energy, making it highly cost-effective. 

This enabled us to make use of an innovative ventilation concept based on overpressure. By using the raised floor to distribute air this produces a considerable saving in primary energy.

The climate concept  proved to be sustainable as the in use building received the energy certificate 'BREEAM Excellent', the first government building to receive this sustainability rating.

Bats and wind studies

Immediately next to the new building is an ancient forest that is home to a rare species of bat. Because bats are very sensitive to changes in their environment, we used wind studies to optimise the shape of the office building so as to minimise the change in wind conditions in the wood.

Future flexibility

With limited space to accommodate the building, we had to make the best use of the space that was available. By integrating the building's structures and services in one package instead of running separate ducts, we reduced the floor-to-floor distance to 3,300mm. As well as using the space efficiently, this makes the building flexible - in long term in can be re-used for housing.


Design Yearbook 2011 cover
  • Exterior view. Credit: Pepijn KoningPlay video

    Video: Our client, the architect and Arup colleagues talk about the project and the design.

  • DUO exterior. Credit: Ronald Tilleman/DAPhOpen gallery

    The building's distinct shape ensures that it creates no wind interference for a rare species of bat.

  • Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs en de Belastingdienst. Credit: David de JongOpen gallery

    The new building is a new landmark for Groningen.