Former headquarters of IBM in Amsterdam, B. has become a third place that now hosts startups, but also meetings of large groups. It is a creative workspace that strives to facilitate innovation, education and growth
After being vacant for 11 years, IBM’s former premises in the Rieker Business Park in Amsterdam seemed unsuitable for redevelopment. Ricardo Van Loenen, Guus Meulendijks and Bas Van Veggel came up with the idea of creating an ecosystem dedicated to startups in these premises. A new life has been given to them as a hotspot for startups, independent professionals and creative companies. These are flexible offices (50% startups, 30% businesses and 20% facilities).
To this end, the building was designed as a city, with streets, squares, amenities and host facilities.
Do things differently. The distinctive black cube on the Johan Huizingalaan (next to the A4 and A10 ring road) was originally built as the headquarters of IBM. The adjacent hall was a typewriter factory. After IBM left its premises, several developers prepared the development of large-scale areas with offices as the main focus. The project consisted of building an “extension of the Zuidas” (Amsterdam’s main business district along the A10 ring road) at this location. The founders Guus, Ricardo and Bas decided to intervene. The office building, with its excesses – floors with high ceilings, accessibility and robustness – offered the opportunity to do things differently. Today, it is the bustling center of B. where innovative entrepreneurs meet.
B. Amsterdam presents an area of 40,000 m². The largest incubation area in Europe at 1 / 2h from Amsterdam by tram.
In this context, the tenants of the building contribute dynamically to the development of the city through their workspaces. For these users, the building is much more than just a place of work, it is an ecosystem characterized by interaction and discovery. This vision of the building is reinforced by its industrial and distinctive appearance, as well as by the reuse of materials.
The brownfield office is useful, trendy and user-friendly
B1, the historic building we visited in April 2018, as part of the European press conference “ORGATEC 2018” covers an area of 18,000 m²,
B2 offers 12,500 m², and the last,
B3, opened in June 2017, dedicates its 9500 sqm entirely to innovation. B expands its global network by opening a center in Brooklyn, New York.
B. Amsterdam: these are three buildings, B.1, B.2 and B.3. Although the concept of buildings is the same, B.2 and B.3 have a different purpose.
B is above all a community that generates the development of a “collective intelligence”. B. Amsterdam reaches an area of 40000 m², “the largest incubation area in Europe” 1/2 hours from Amsterdam by tram. Compared to Station F created by Xavier Niel in Paris which is 34 000m2: “the largest entrepreneurial campus in the world”. These are not only service buildings: it is above all a community that generates the development of a “collective intelligence” by pooling ideas and perspectives. And we feel totally that when circulating in the building, and it is completely visible at the meeting points that are the points for “snacking” around a cup of coffee or a plate of watered cereals multicolored smoothies, discussions are going well between occupants coming from all different worlds. It’s warm and elegant with rugs, chairs, sofas and period tables. We find small colorful “Trabants” distributed in the building that serve as
decorative pieces or, if necessary, as a telephone booth.
B. is a creative workspace for innovation, education and growth, bridging startups, creatives and businesses.
A kind of emulation center to learn to progress with each other, a place of exchange and connection between all members. If you become a member of the B. community, you have access to the right spaces, the right tools, the right relationships in a good social environment, to improve your business in the best way possible. You will be supported to adapt to growth, whether you are a beginner or experienced entrepreneur, B. Amsterdam offers many services and facilities, which can provide office space, a coworking space, event space or a meeting room, to choose from: B. also has two lounges, a gym, a movie theater, plenty of car parks and even a rooftop restaurant overlooking Amsterdam.
B.1 is home to 350 pioneering businesses, a rooftop restaurant and park, cafes, a cinema and a gym. B.2 provides a dynamic workplace for startups and businesses, but with a focus on innovative startups: Internet of Things, Human Resources Technology, and FinTech Industries. B.3 is the innovation center of the company where innovative solutions will be developed. B3 provides creative workspaces and everything a growing business needs.
In 2016, B. Startup School Amsterdam – BSSA – opened its doors to 300 students to meet the growing demand for talent in the startup ecosystem.
The school helps talented young people to acquire the skills the industry requires, but that the education system does not offer. Its purpose is to provide an answer and solution to each problem by connecting the right people and organizations in each building B. B. Startup School Amsterdam is funded by a government grant and a scholarship fund paid for by the industry. One of the teachers tells us “This means that if you meet the criteria, your tuition will be covered. We noticed that there is a gap between the current education system and the industry. There are a large number of motivated and talented newcomers who have just completed their bachelor’s or master’s degree. But the industry still considers them too inexperienced. Our program aims to fill this gap by providing graduates with the skills and experience the industry requires. Our
program consists of a full-time intensive course and a six-month internship. During the course, our students work closely with the industry to learn essential skills such as programming, hacking growth, designing experiences or creating content. By working on real projects for real customers and with regular feedback, our students are adaptive and quick to learn. We work in collaboration with the international Hyper Island Institutes, the New York Code + Design Academy and the Talent Institute to provide our students with the highest level of expertise. ”
Taking the elevator to the fifth floor of B. Amsterdam, we discover a beautiful green space on the roof overlooking the city. But there is more! In August 2016, the Café-Restaurant Bureau opened on this roof and is here to stay. Since the opening, the Bureau and its team have been nominated for a “Daredevil” award, have received many positive reviews and have been included in the list of “best value for money”, its mission, serve good food and good wine at a fair price, is reached. All products, mayonnaise with cheesecake are homemade and some vegetables come directly from the roost garden on the roof. This also makes B, Business Building the rooftop hotspot in Amsterdam