Professional, Distinctive, and Timeless Design for Technische Unie with SAB W TL Panels


Article ArchiComm 2-2024 written by Lieke Bousema

Technische Unie, a Sonepar Company, is the largest technical wholesaler in the Netherlands. The company supplies over 2 million electrical engineering products from more than 700 suppliers. The green trucks and vans have been a striking sight on Dutch roads for years. Moreover, the green color is the eye-catcher of an increasing number of branches spread across the country. In collaboration with Technische Unie, Buro Duck has developed a recognizable and future-proof architectural style for both new and existing wholesale locations. Green Trespa Meteon panels, a concrete plinth, and dark gray PIR sandwich panels SAB W 135.1000 TL ensure a professional and distinctive appearance and the perfect balance.

Technische Unie – Arnhem (photo by Buro Duck)

With seven new construction projects and two renovations, Buro Duck can now call itself the house architect of Technische Unie. The collaboration between the technical wholesaler and the architecture and construction bureau began a few years ago, when Buro Duck was invited to design a transformation for an existing and vacant building in Zwolle. “In 2017, plans arose for a new building in The Hague, for which Technische Unie wanted to develop an architectural and widely applicable house style,” says Hendrik Lensink, Architect at Buro Duck. “The wholesaler intended to build several new branches in our country, but also to renovate its existing buildings, with a uniform house style as the starting point. Thanks to this house style, all branches are clearly recognizable as part of the Technische Unie family.” Projects have now been completed in places like Den Hoorn, Arnhem, Borne, and Alkmaar. Recently, construction has also started on a new branch in Leeuwarden..

Technische Unie – Hengelo/Borne (photo by Buro Duck)

Strategic ‘Bite’

The branches of Technische Unie usually consist of a service center, office facility, and distribution hall for regional supply, Lensink knows. “Often, these are large buildings, so materials and colors need to be well-balanced.” And they have succeeded. “The most striking aspect of Technische Unie’s architectural style is the entrance section for the service center and office. A ‘bite’ is strategically taken from the building, either at a corner or in the middle. The gap created is architecturally filled with large glass facades featuring an elegant renovation profile and Trespa Meteon panels in the distinctive Technische Unie green.” The rest of the building is deliberately kept very neutral, he explains, with a concrete plinth and PIR sandwich panels SAB W 135.1000 TL in a dark, calm gray tone. “This makes the accents stand out much better and ensures a timeless design. Moreover, the design fits seamlessly into the visual quality plans of Dutch municipalities. We haven’t had to make any adjustments so far.”

Special Depth and Shadow Effect

“The concrete plinth varies in height depending on the design but always runs continuously around the building,” Lensink explains. “For the volume above it, the PIR sandwich panels SAB W 135.1000 TL from SAB-profile were chosen very deliberately. The trapezoidal profiling of these panels provides a special depth and vertical shadow effect, especially on larger volumes. Since the panels are available in lengths up to 18 meters, they can always be installed in full length.” While the sandwich panel variant is often chosen for new construction projects, the trapezoidal profile plate SAB 35/1035 is frequently used in renovation projects. This has the same look and feel as the trapezoidal sandwich panels. “This way, the existing facade can usually be preserved, and structural interventions are kept to a minimum.”

Durable Coating and Color

The SAB W 135 TL panels are made with pre-coated steel, says Usen Koppes, Marketing Manager at SAB-profile. “These are pre-coated with a special coating and color on the outside. For the Technische Unie buildings, the 3-layer Colorcoat Prisma® was chosen, guaranteeing the best combination of aesthetic quality, long-term performance, and durability, with warranties up to 40 years. Colorcoat Prisma even offers a 20-year color warranty for all 29 standard colors. In this case, the dark gray metallic color Zeus was chosen, which combines beautifully with the green of Technische Unie.” The SAB W 135 TL sandwich panel has a high Rc value of 5.72 m2K/W, where 4.7 m2K/W is the norm, Koppes says. “This panel can also be used as a load-bearing carrier panel if desired, providing wind, water, and airtightness, followed by an extra steel design profile plate, wooden profiles, or composite product.”

Technische Unie – Den Hoorn (photo by adst)

Long-Term Availability

Following the appearance and durability of the panels, their timelessness was also a reason for Buro Duck to choose the trapezoidal panel SAB W 135 TL. “Technische Unie has 37 branches spread across the country that may need upgrading sooner or later,” says Lensink. “There may also be new constructions in the future. To ensure that the chosen house style can still be implemented in the future, the long-term availability of the sandwich panels and profile plates is a must. With the SAB W 135 TL panels, which have been around for 35 years, this certainty is also built in.”

Technische Unie – Alkmaar (photo by adst)

Project information:
Various TU locations, including Alkmaar, Amsterdam, Arnhem, Delft/Den Hoorn, The Hague, Hengelo/Borne, Middelburg, and Utrecht
Client: Technische Unie – A Sonepar Company
Architect: Buro Duck
Contrector: Aan de Stegge Twello
Installation company: Van de Haar Dak – Wand bv / Cladding Partners
SAB Producten: SAB W 135.1000 TL in Colorcoat Prisma color Zeus, SAB WB 60.1000 M8L/M16L SAB 135R/930