AHH: Dafne Wiegers, Jeroa Amanupunnjo
VenhoevenCS: Arjen Zaal, Danny Esselman, Ton Venhoeven, Eliza Mante
The Alienware Training Facility is located in the city centre of Utrecht and is the all-new EU Headquarters, housing illustrious esports organisation, Team Liquid. Founder Victor Goossens, a native of Utrecht, started Team Liquid 20 years ago; while a huge community of European fans made the city top choice for the EU headquarters. Situated in the heart of the new community building Het Platform, designed by VenhoevenCS, the facility overlooks the Station Square. Thanks to the location and a public passage through the building, Team Liquid players can train and compete and at the same time stay connected with the vibrant city of Utrecht.
Two worlds intertwine
The new training facility combines training, presentation, working, eating, living and relaxation. The interior of the building sees two worlds intertwine: players and office staff work in a world of green and comfort, while fans and visitors are entertained by the spectacular world of Team Liquid and their ongoing adventure.
The public zone on the ground floor is separated from the players and office staff by an impressive, 3 meters high, transparent trophy case that offers a glimpse of the world behind. The first floor provides room for the state-of-the-art training facility. Next to the scrim rooms, where the athletes train, there is a restaurant that will sustain the players while they prepare for tournaments. The Team Liquid European staff, housed in a transparent and roomy office, are provided with a setting that will surely elevate their operation, and brand, across the world of esports.
Inspired by game design
This project Is the perfect illustration of how game design and digital art can become new and quintessential sources of inspiration for architects. The architecture here is the epitome of duality: between what is real and what can be imagined and where nothing is what it seems. A mix of serene minimalism and high-tech, edgy gaming aesthetics; an amalgam of functions that normally never combine, like a restaurant with scrim rooms and a gallery with a player lounge. The interior design, unashamedly, celebrates technology.
This is not tucked away in walls or ceilings, but highlighted and exposed as ornaments, emphasising that internet and tech now represent a pumping heart, one that supports a way of life. The facility is adventurous — as a well-designed game would be — with a modular and multi-purpose floor plan, utilising sliding walls to offer a flexible and fluid use of space.
Sustainable and healthy workspace
The imaginative use of the interior’s materials also creates an interplay between the real and the imagined, with a daring choice of colours and materials accentuating different spaces and functions. Atmospheres skilfully alternate from chic and dynamic to professional and focused to reflect the function of the space. Black, white, bamboo, blue manes and hexagons are forged into a bold, yet sturdy, mise en scene; while the brand’s identity is represented both explicitly and within hidden easter eggs. By using bio-based and recycled materials, efficient installations, smart acoustics, lighting, and prefab elements, we have created a sustainable, healthy and comfortable workspace for Team Liquid.
We believe this project is the first convincing example of how influences between architecture and gaming might inspire more architects to explore and use game design and digital art in their designs — and we’re delighted to be among the first to explore those new relationships.
Co architect: VenhoevenCS
Main contractor: Bouw21
Interior builder: Stooff Interior Projects
Technical building systems: Van Delft Groep (W) en Schrijvers Technische Installaties (E)