The Leidsenhage shopping centre will be transformed into the retail icon ‘Mall of the Netherlands’. The largest and most impressive shopping centre in the Netherlands. According to MVSA architects, the design of the facade is as fluid as a silk shawl. For this new shopping centre, mbX, a Concrete Valley company, produced 10,000 m2 of double-curved prefab facade elements made of high-Performance concrete (HPC). The eye-catcher of the building: the 12-metre cantilever canopy at the main entrance.
Shopping centre of the future
The Leidsenhage shopping centre is being prepared for the future. Shopping behaviour is shifting from a functional activity to a real experience. Shopping centres are competing with online shopping. MVSA Architects designed the new shopping centre for Unibail Rodamco Westfield. Mall of the Netherlands responds to online shopping and therefore to the changing role of physical shops and the changing needs of shoppers.
In 2017, Concrete Valley was approached to participate as a concrete specialist in the realisation of the largest and most impressive shopping centre in the Netherlands: Mall of the Netherlands in Leidschendam. In the early phase of the project, a mock-up of the facade, including a pleated canopy, was made on full-size. Namely 12 metres high and 20 metres long. The mock-up was erected on the Concrete Valley site. An in-house production line was set up for this project to create the required freedom of form in production. A large part of the production consists of unique elements. mbX developed an adaptive flexible mould with which the double-curved concrete elements can be produced.
High-strength concrete as a silk shawl
The iconic ‘voile-façade’ is an all-sided outer facade of double-curved concrete (HPC) shells, with which the mall makes an iconic gesture towards its surroundings. The eye-catcher of the building is the twelve-metre canopy at the main entrance. All facade components connect to the voile facade and as a whole form the thermal shell. The challenge was to engineer more than 900 uniquely shaped elements within multidisciplinary requirements. By converting the 3D design to a parametric model, it was possible to determine the most efficient production method.
Adaptive flexible moulds
Part of the production method is the flexible moulding technique, with which unique formwork parts can be created. Partly because of this, we can create freedom of form in production. A large part of the production consists of unique elements. The most extreme shapes are made by the milling machine. Without the current state of digital technology and flexible mould, this design would not have been feasible in terms of budget. A structural aesthetic and logistical challenge.
mbX is the manufacturer of the HPC facade elements for Mall of the Netherlands. Since 2014, mbX has been part of Concrete Valley. mbX is a specialist in prefab elements made of high-strength concrete and glass-fibre reinforced concrete. Using unique concrete mixes, smart engineering and flexible moulds, they make geometrically complex with concrete possible. mbX is a young company with a fresh perspective on the use of moulds and concrete. In doing so, they make a significant contribution to the realisation of the most challenging architectural projects.