The Asian community in the Netherlands is on a rise as more and more businesses from Asia are entering the European market and are looking at settling in the Netherlands. The Asian Business Court (ABC), currently under construction, in Ypenburg, The Hague, is a multifunctional commercial and office complex that is specially developed for companies who are active in both the Western and Asian markets.

The ABC is designed by Kampman Architecten and will house multiple offices, commercial spaces with showrooms, a luxurious business hotel with congress facilities, leisure amenities and a large knowledge center for business support. Its prime location, right next to the A13 highway, makes it an absolute landmark and gives the housed businesses a logistic advantage.

Facadexs has been selected by Star Investments Delft B.V. to design, manufacture and install a facade access solution for the so called first phase construction of this complex, the approximately 44 meter (144 feet) tall business hotel tower.

Our Facadexs solution

The challenge in designing a facade access solution for the ABC stems from two architectural features. The design of this tower is characterized by its unique roof shape. The top of the tower runs in a V-like shape, with one side of the tower surface having an 8° inclination. Secondly, the design has a slightly retracting facade on one side of the tower. While these design features look to be an obstacle for some manufacturers of Building Maintenance Units (BMUs), we gladly took the challenge.

We looked to make a facade access solution that not only gives full access to the tower’s facade, but that also blend in, to minimize the effect on the architectural value of the building.

BMU specifications

Traversing roof car with a fixed jib
  • Fixed outreach of 4.8 m (approx. 16 ft).

  • Maximum luffing angle of 55 degrees.

  • 93 m (305 ft) of rail track

  • Rail track partly inclined under an angle of 8 degrees.

  • Standard gondola with a Safe Working Load (SWL) of max. 240 kg (529 lbs).

  • Total wire rope length: 50.0 m (approx. 164 ft).

A BMU that can traverse under an angle

The BMU solution for the Asian Business Court exists out of a single roof car solution that can travel (traverse) over the entire roof surface, including the inclining surface area. Running on a galvanized steel rail track, the roof car can reach each side of the tower and worker can access the facades with its standard two person gondola.

Because the rail track on one side of the tower roof surface is slightly inclining, our in-house engineers had to come up with a solution that kept the roof car in a horizontal position while moving towards the raised area. Our engineers came up with a special method, where the undercarriage of the BMU is able to tilt, while keeping the upper frame in a horizontal position. A set of two cylinders, that are mounted to both the undercarriage and the upper frame, help stabilize the BMU while the undercarriage is titled.

The luffing function of the jib helps bringing the cradle closer to the building exterior in places where the facade retracts. Combined with approximately 45 restraint points, spread over the entire tower, the gondola is kept in place while the workers inside the cradle perform their duties.