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Meet our team: Mark, Senior Architectural Engineer

Technical pioneers

MVSA strives for innovation and technical perfection. Our passion is to redefine the future of urban landscapes. Whilst our design approach brings us the most inspirational projects and great talent to realise them.

Mark Ohm, senior architectural engineer at MVSA, is one of our key engineers, who form the technical heart of our firm. As technical pioneers, they make the realization of designs possible. Mark is currently working on the Mall of the Netherlands, the largest shopping mall in The Netherlands.

We know our Instagram followers love to see the passion behind the vision, so we asked them for some questions for Mark, here’s some of the things they wanted to know.


Which career path did you have to get your position on this project?


After my graduation from the Amsterdam HBO Bouwkunde, I started as a draftsman for various architectural firms, before I joined MVSA Architects in 2011. Straight away I noticed the unique supportive and motivational work ethic. I could see the full commitment from the whole team. As an architectural engineer, I am involved in projects from the first sketch to final detailing. If you are passionate, MVSA offers you the opportunity to fully develop your skills in many different areas. MVSA supports external and internal training for all employees. For example, I obtained the certificate BREEAM-NL New Construction and Renovation Expert and I completed the basic training for Dynamo (parametric design for Revit).

Before joining the Mall of the Netherlands team in 2014, I worked on many different projects, including Atrium Zuidas, Jumbo and Wärtsilä. 


Did you work on the entirety of the Mall of the Netherlands project?


I have been personally involved in the project from September 2014. This was from the preliminary design phase up to and including the construction of the project. Before my involvement with the project, a sketch design was made, with which we won the competition for the project.

Initially, I was involved with the engineering of the façade, but later I worked on the entire project, including the application for the building permit, writing specifications andselection of various contractors. The project is divided into packages and each contractor obtains one or more packages.

After the selection of contractors, we start with the aesthetic supervision. We review the construction drawings first and have them changed where necessary then we inspect and supervise the work of the contractors on the construction site.

As part of this process, we started with an engineering project with TGM/mbX, our façade builders, and Ballast Nedam, the contractor for the structure, to test the elements of the façade. To best be able to test these, MVSA and mbX created an impressive 1:1 scale mock-up of the building site in September 2017.

Enabling us to test the façadeelements in various ways, such as the construction to hang them, the desired dimensions of the separate, unique elements, how different materials relate to each other, distribution of the seams, amongst other things.


What would have been the impact on the project of earlier testing with mbX?


If at a rather earlier stage there would have been engineered with a façade builder, the process could have been even more efficient.

However, our client had good reasons to want to receive competitive offers of the various contractors first, before selecting the façade builder.


What about sustainability in Mall of the Netherlands?


Our client has agreed with us that renovation and the newbuild structure would meet the requirements for the Very Good level of the BREEAM-NLcertificate as a minimum.For the entire centre, excluding the store units, we met the requirements for achieving the Excellent score for in-use.

Beyond this, we considered all the effects of pollution in connection with the façade. For example, the surface of the concrete is chosen in such a way that there is less chance of dirt adhesion and the concrete elements are installed upside down so that rainwater from an element flows behind the façade and will not run over the underlying element. An additional advantage of this method is a much lower visibility of the horizontal seams between the façade elements. The concrete facade is also fully equipped with an anti-graffiti coating. All of this is a result of the real-life mock-up setting, where all the materials and the way they react where extensively tested for, amongst others, pollution, damage, graffiti and cleaning for a period of more than one year.

Together with the contractors we have based a quality plan on these test results, in which various protocols are set, as well to deliver sustainability.


How has technology influenced the design of the voile?


The design concept behind the voile façade of Mall of the Netherlands is the idea of sinuous white curves, flowing horizontally around the glass-skinned structure, billowing upwards to sculpt the main entrance, then down to the ground to create a closed space or outwards to form a dramatic overhang. The softly curving, three-dimensional lines continue inside, uninterrupted by the extensive glazed façade, stressing the continuity between inside and outside and unifying the various spaces.

Technology has been a major influence on our design. A customized technique is created to realize the voile by mounting an enormous amount of separate, different shaped and sized elements in the smartest and most efficient way.

Moreover, the façade behind the voile ensures the thermal insulation as well as protection against water and wind.

Aspects that have had a lot of impact on the design are the maximum dimensions of the façade element, as well as how much each element could span and where the rear constructions were situated. For the seams between the elements we needed to consider the different tolerances of the concrete, of the mounting and of the supporting construction.


Why was concrete chosen as a material for the façadeof Mall of the Netherlands, over other materials such as aluminium?


At the start of the project we studied many different materials for the façade. When we evaluated aluminium, we decided it wasn’t suitable, due to the complex visual language of the façade. Many 3D-shaped aluminium elements would have been needed, which would have highly increased the costs.

In fact, there were two serious materials left as option for the voile: concrete or composite. Besides reference visits to projects with façades built from the two relevant materials, we orderedscaled 1:4 and 1:5 façade elementsmade from each material. This enabled us to evaluate thoroughly their look and feel. As a result, it was unanimously agreed to realize the voile in concrete, as the perfect material for the façade.

Would you like to know more about Mark’s role as senior architectural engineer within the MVSA team? Then head over to our Instagram account and ask us a question! Mark will be there to answer.

Meet our team: Mark, Senior Architectural Engineer