Naturalis Biodiversity Center reopens with a sustainable, future-proof renovation

September 6, 2019 by  
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After nearly a year of renovations, the Netherlands’ prized Naturalis Biodiversity Center — a museum and research center with one of the largest natural history collections in the world — has just reopened to the public. The redesign was led by Rotterdam-based architectural firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects , which expanded and renovated the facility to “future-proof” standards that include 100 percent LED lighting , solar panels, green roofs and an energy-efficient climate control system. The complex also better accommodates more than 200 researchers who aim to contribute solutions to global issues such as climate change, the decline of biodiversity and food supply challenges. Located in Leiden, the Netherlands, the Naturalis Biodiversity Center was originally founded in 1820 by King Willem as a museum for natural artifacts. Subsequent mergers with other museum collections over the years has led the museum to amass approximately 42 million specimens that range from insects and fossils to a wide variety of books and photographs. To better serve the public and researchers, the Naturalis Biodiversity Center appointed Neutelings Riedijk Architects with the task of renovating approximately 18,000 square meters of the existing center and adding 20,000 square meters of new construction.  Related: Carbon-neutral science museum in Sweden will be powered by bicycles The renovated Naturalis Biodiversity Center now combines all departments — including the research activities, the collection and the museum — under one roof. The existing buildings and new extensions are connected with a new central hall with an eye-catching, honeycomb-like, white concrete facade inspired by the museum’s collections. Designed by the famous Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, the curvaceous exterior is fitted with glass to create a sunny atrium that connects the existing offices and depots with the newly built museum and laboratories. In addition to the addition of sustainable features, such as solar panels and geothermal heat pump system, the renovated Natural Biodiversity Center was constructed with a robust natural materials palette to ensure longevity. The highly textured materials — that include natural stone, oak, concrete, glass and steel — will develop a patina over time to show the passage of time. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Photography by Scagliola Brakkee Fotografie via Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Naturalis Biodiversity Center reopens with a sustainable, future-proof renovation

This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

August 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy . Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming. Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.  Related: Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter. In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid. + Studio Public Via Design Milk Photography by Marsel Loermans via Studio Public

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This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

Sustainable RAUM Pavilion can be continually reused or recycled in Utrecht

August 7, 2019 by  
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Utrecht’s burgeoning cultural hotspot at Berlijnplein (Berlin Square) has recently gained the RAUM Pavilion, a new sustainable meeting space for makers and creatives. Designed by Amsterdam studio Overtreders W , the temporary structure serves as an events venue for exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Following circular economy principles, the movable pavilion can be easily disassembled and rebuilt elsewhere, or the materials can be reused, recycled or composted. The pavilion is constructed from three adjoining timber structures with insulated wooden floor panels set on wooden beams on a foundation of concrete slabs. For a lighter and more durable alternative to glass, the architects installed polycarbonate sheets on the roofs and floors to let natural light in during the day. The sheets are also interspersed by leftover pieces of acrylic glass for pops of color. The polycarbonate panels help trap heat for passive heating, while rooftop solar panels power the pavilion. As with the exterior, the interior is deliberately left in a raw state to leave all the of the construction visible to the eye. The ceiling is defined by exposed timber trusses and their diagonal supports, as well as potted plants with greenery that drape over each truss. For flexibility, the interior can be sectioned off to create differently sized rooms to accommodate various group sizes ranging from two to 80 people. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion Completed in the fall of 2018, the RAUM Pavilion will stay in its present location for at least three years, after which it may move to a new location. The space regularly hosts events and can be rented by locals and companies for private events. The pavilion is also home to the restaurant Venster, which serves food prepared from locally sourced produce. + Overtreders W Images by Overtreders W

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Sustainable RAUM Pavilion can be continually reused or recycled in Utrecht

An old office is transformed into the Netherlands’ most sustainable renovated building

March 22, 2019 by  
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In Amsterdam South, a newly renovated office building with a shimmering silver roof has achieved BREEAM Outstanding , a green building rating that arguably makes the property the most sustainable adaptive reuse project in the Netherlands. Formerly a neglected office complex, the empty building was transformed in the hands of Dutch architectural firm Benthem Crouwel Architects and now serves as the energy-positive offices for Goede Doelen Loterijen (Dutch Charity Lotteries). A major goal of the new Goede Doelen Loterijen office was to gather the company’s approximately 600 employees — who had been distributed at different branches for years — into a single location. Because sustainability is a core value of Goede Doelen Loterijen , the new office also needed to be highly sustainable and render the company’s social ambitions visible. Therefore, the building design emphasizes accessibility and transparency, communicating the message that it serves both the employees and the neighborhood. In addition to offices, the building includes a public restaurant, an auditorium and a TV studio. “The Charity Lotteries employees were involved in the design from the very beginning,” the architects explained. “Everyone was invited to share their thoughts, and through this unique process of co-creation, a building emerged that fits the unique atmosphere and work practice of this organization like a glove. It was the employees’ wish to bring the green from the park at their old locations to the new office. To fulfill this wish, a roof was created that is green in every possible way.” Related: MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone Nearly 7,000 leaves made of polished aluminum cover the roof, supported with slender, tree-shaped columns. The new forest-inspired roof shimmers and changes appearance depending on the time of day and is easily recognizable and visible from afar. In addition to the glittering silver leaves, the roof is also integrated with 949 solar panels and a rainwater collection system for green roof irrigation. Materials from the former office complex were reused, while all new materials have been selected for their sustainable and recyclable qualities. + Benthem Crouwel Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Jannes Linders via Benthem Crouwel Architects

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An old office is transformed into the Netherlands’ most sustainable renovated building

Solar-powered Dutch home brings the coastal woods indoors

February 21, 2019 by  
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Dutch design studio Natrufied Architecture has embedded a solar-powered home into the coastal woods in the old artist town of Bergen, the Netherlands. Dubbed Bosvilla, the 4,305-square-foot abode is built with a variety of timbers, inside and out, that combine with floor-to-ceiling triple glazing to create an environment that feels like an extension of the outdoors. For energy efficiency, the architects blanketed the building with a green roof, used highly insulated materials and installed 35 solar panels to offset energy demands. Bosvilla consists of the main house, a guest house, a carport and bicycle storage in separate buildings carefully laid out to capture forest and dune views. Nestled between oak and pine trees, the main house features an open floor plan as well as large revolving and sliding glass doors that create a seamless flow between the indoors and the outdoor terraces. The cantilevered roof helps protect against unwanted solar heat gain while allowing copious amounts of natural light and nature views into the interior. “The intentions for the design were to embed and create living spaces in balance with nature,” the architects explain in their press release. “The guesthouse in the back of the plot provides guest with similar nature experiences, making spaces flow inward out, capture tree and dune views as well as enjoying privacy and seclusion. Both the carport and bike storage are structures completely integrated in the landscape. All walls and roofs are covered by nature , only showing a central opening for access.” Related: Dreamy treehouse hidden in Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views Responsibly sourced natural materials used throughout the home tie the architecture to the landscape, from the variety of woods to the Belgian flagstones. The columns and beams are built from laminated Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified iroko, while the substructure is made of local pine and the windows and doorframes are built of FSC-certified Jatoba. FSC-certified Afromosia was selected for the ceiling and bamboo for the interior sliding doors, bedroom floor and doorframes. FSC-certified Afzella make up the stairs, ground floor and terraces. FSC-certified Cumaru wood clads the facade. + Natrufied Architecture Images by Christian Richters, Berlin/Boris Zeisser, Bergen

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Weathered steel trees wrap around a solar-powered school building

October 17, 2018 by  
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Delft-based architectural office cepezed recently completed a solar-powered branch for Graafschap College in Doetinchem that — unlike most school buildings in the Netherlands — eschews natural gas in favor of a power supply that’s 100 percent electric. Built for the students of the Sports & Exercise and Safety & Craftsmanship departments, the new school building prioritizes a healthy indoor learning environment that maximizes access to natural daylight and views of the outdoors. In homage of the many oak trees that grow around the building, the architects partially wrapped the structure in tree-shaped weathered steel cladding that serves as a double skin for solar shading. Built to house approximately 700 students, the new Graafschap College branch at Sportpark Zuid features at its heart a large, light-filled atrium named The Midfield in reference to sports and teamwork. The Midfield is organized into a series of cascading terraces with large landing areas that serve as informal meeting spaces. The glass atrium roof floods The Midfield with natural light and is combined with sensor-enabled LED lighting to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. “In order to be able to look over the car park from the ground floor, and to give the building the appearance of a pavilion in green surroundings, the school has been elevated by a half-story and placed on a basement,” the architecture firm noted. “Beside the car park, the height difference is bridged by an elongated, landscaped staircase, which also incorporates a ramp.” Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 For the facade, the architects installed alternating strips of glass and black aluminum panels to create a sleek and modern appearance. A second skin of perforated Corten steel cut into the shapes of oak trees is laid over the east, west and south facades of the building and helps deflect unwanted solar gain without preventing daylight from entering the building. cepezedinterieur handled the interior design, which also follows a contemporary aesthetic but with brighter colors and patterns that allude to sports and movement. In addition to solar panels, the school also uses solar boilers for water heating. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Weathered steel trees wrap around a solar-powered school building

O2 Studio renovated an old Netherlands home into a gorgeous energy-neutral villa

May 10, 2018 by  
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In the Netherlands, an old home dating back to the 1960s has been given an energy-neutral makeover, and the results are stunning. At the request of the owners,  O2 Studio revamped the home into an energy-efficient powerhouse . In addition to using passive strategies, like adding more windows and skylights to let in optimal natural light, O2 Studio installed an innovative hybrid system of PV panels and geothermal heat to generate clean energy. Located in Bunnik, near Utrech, the family home is a great example of how to renovate an old structure using sustainable materials and energy-efficient features to bring it into the 21st century. The architects decided to retain the original layout of the structure, but wanted to flood its interior with as much light as possible. Thanks to several windows and a skylight, the house is naturally lit throughout the day, reducing energy use and costs. The home’s self-sustaining energy system takes advantage of both geothermal heating and solar power  through a roof-mounted PV array. Related: Kumar residence is an energy-efficient, zinc-clad renovation in San Francisco On the interior, a new glass staircase leading to the upper floor was installed to enhance the home’s open floor plan. The ground floor of the home was extended to make space for an open kitchen and seating area, which leads to the outside through extremely large glass sliding doors — again, bringing in natural light wherever possible. The kitchen and dining area was placed 50 centimeters lower than the entrance level — a strategic design tactic that seamlessly connects the inside of the villa with the outdoor garden and a beautiful river nearby. In fact, the home is surrounded by greenery , giving it a contemporary cabin-in-the-woods feel. + O2 Studio Photography by Ossip via O2 Studio    

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O2 Studio renovated an old Netherlands home into a gorgeous energy-neutral villa

This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

April 3, 2018 by  
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Urban adventurers, prepare to set sail: A temporary installation in Utrecht, the Netherlands is transforming its site into an unknown land full of discoveries. When city dwellers engage with the project, they become “urbanauts,” contemporary adventurers that sail through the public space. Rome-based design collective  orizzontale  conceived the project as an LED-lit,  modular wooden structure that reimagines the concept of a boat, resulting in a flexible urban space that merges art, design and technology. The Urbanauts project forms part of RAUM, a workshop in Utrecht that hosts the Berlijnplein, a large public exhibition space . Together with local creators, international creators, and the public, RAUM will build a program of festivals, installations, events, and workshops in 2017 and 2018. Related: Dark highway underpass transformed into a brilliant tunnel of light The “urbanauts’ headquarters” includes different urban parcels that can be expanded and personalized. Elevated platforms and a small tower provide vantage points from which to observe the surrounding area. Thanks to the iron cage on top, which holds a red LED sign, the tower also works as an urban landmark. + orizzontale

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This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

Plastic-fishing group in Amsterdam turns trash into contemporary furniture

March 12, 2018 by  
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If we remove plastic from the world’s waterways, what happens to it next? Amsterdam -based Plastic Whale , the “first professional plastic-fishing company in the world” according to founder Marius Smit , came up with a creative answer: circular furniture . They teamed up with LAMA Concept and Vepa to design the Plastic Whale Circular Furniture collection, all of which is made with trash fished from the city’s canals. Plastic Whale takes thousands of people plastic fishing in Amsterdam’s canals every year, removing tons of plastic trash, according to their video. They’ve created fishing boats out of plastic collected and then decided to make something new with the garbage: office furniture. They enlisted the help of design firm LAMA Concept to design the pieces, and furniture manufacturer Vepa to produce and sell them. Related: Pentatonic launches new brand of modern furniture made with nothing but trash They’ve created a boardroom table , chairs , a lamp , and an acoustic panel. Vepa director Janwillem de Kam said in a statement , “For the manufacture of the furniture we use PET bottles that have been collected by Plastic Whale. We also melt steel waste into the base of the chair. We are fast moving towards a waste-free factory and even ensure that we process the waste from others in this collection.” Plastic Whale said they also utilize residual fabrics for the chair. LAMA Concept co-owner Yvonne Laurysen said they were inspired by whales for the furniture’s designs : “Think, for example, of the look and feel of the characteristic skin, the adipose tissue, and the impressive skeleton.” Surfacing whales inspired the boardroom table’s appearance, the chairs got their look from the shape of a whale’s tail, barnacles provided inspiration for the lamp, and a whale’s bellow offered the spark for the acoustic panels. When a customer is done with the furniture, they can return it to Vepa, which will create new pieces and even return a deposit. The furniture can be ordered via exclusive dealers with prices available on request; you can email Vepa for more information. Some of the proceeds will go to organizations fighting the plastic problem like SweepSmart in India. You can find out more about Plastic Whale’s collection here . + Plastic Whale + Vepa + LAMA Concept Images via LAMA Concept and courtesy of Vepa

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Plastic-fishing group in Amsterdam turns trash into contemporary furniture

DIY tiny cabin is made out of old skateboards and a horse trough

March 12, 2018 by  
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When it comes to DIY , sometimes just one simple tool can make all of the difference. Nick Orso spent two years researching, planning, and building an eco-friendly tiny cabin on wheels . Using a simple Excel spreadsheet, he created the final design to scale for the “Tiny Cabin That Excels.” Built with reclaimed materials such as old skateboards and a salvaged horse trough repurposed as a water basin, his beautiful timber cabin – which also includes a composting toilet and tankless water heater – may be compact, but it comes with a lot of character. Nick Orso’s mobile cabin is located in a picturesque lot near a historic estate just out of Center City, Philadelphia. With large french doors and plenty of windows, it makes a perfect woodsy retreat. That said, since it’s built on a standard flatbed trailer, the mobile tiny home can be installed just about anywhere. Related: Escape Traveler is a tiny cabin on wheels that can be moved anywhere Orso built the cabin using quite a few reclaimed materials , such as an old horse trough, which was installed as the shower basin. His passion for skateboarding is also reflected throughout. In the kitchen, for example, he lined the side of the bar with recycled skateboards salvaged from a friend’s skateboard shop. Now, almost completely finished, Orso seems a bit hesitant as what to do with his cool cabin , “I hope to put it up in the woods as kind of retreat, and then who knows what that could lead to? It was a passion I had, he explains, “and I decided to throw away my free time and sanity to achieve it”. Via Urban Engineers Photography by Urban Engineers , and video by Urban Video Productions

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