Located in Amsterdam, Valley is a geology-inspired, plant-covered high-rise designed by MVRDV. The 75,000-square-meter building, named the world’s best new skyscraper in 2022 by the Emporis Awards, stands out in the city’s Zuidas neighborhood with its three towers of 67, 81 and 100 meters and its cantilevered apartments. The building’s extensive planting, designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf, hosts approximately 13,500 young plants, shrubs, and trees. As these mature over the coming years, they will give Valley an increasingly green appearance, making the building a manifesto for a greener city.

MVRDV’s Valley ©Ossip van Duivenbode

Valley’s outer edges feature a shell of smooth mirrored glass supplied by Blitta, a Dutch façade company. Inside this shell, the building has a completely different, more inviting natural appearance, “as if the glass block has crumbled away to reveal craggy rock faces inside replete with natural stone and greenery,” reads a statement from the architect. In addition, a grotto is connected to the outside by two large skylights that double as shallow water pools in the valley level above.

Valley’s design and construction required the sustained commitment of hundreds of designers, engineers, builders, consultants and the client. MVRDV’s technology experts created a series of custom digital tools to perfect the building, including a tool that ensured every apartment had adequate light and views. The project combines insights in the field of sustainability, technology and health. According to the architects, the building’s energy performance is 30% better than local regulations require, it has received BREEAM-NL Excellent certification for commercial spaces, and the residential area scored an 8 out of 10 on the GPR Building Scale, a Dutch measurement tool that scores buildings across five themes: energy, environment, health, quality of use and future value.