Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

July 6, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture firm AEMSEN has recently unveiled BARBIZON, a design proposal for sustainable apartments built from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber modules. Created with the vision that cities need healthy buildings, BARBIZON’s timber construction would be integrated with shared green spaces to encourage neighborly relations and to offset the urban heat island effect. The concept was originally developed for Barbizonlaan in Capelle aan den IJssel; however, the flexible design could be applied in other parts of the world as well. Energy efficiency, reduced building waste and sequestered carbon are among the many advantages of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber construction. AEMSEN’s BARBIZON proposal would comprise stackable and interchangeable CLT modules that combine to create 112 gas-free and bio-based apartments. The design includes 16 different housing types that vary in size from 45 square meters to 120 square meters to accommodate a variety of residents. Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction “By modular design and building with prefabricated CLT modules, the balance between city and nature can be brought back,” Jasper Jägers of AEMSEN said in a press release, noting the fireproof and lightweight qualities of CLT. “Energy-neutral, modular and circular construction with wood really is the future. It is lighter than traditional construction, it has good insulating properties and it provides much less nitrogen emissions. It makes sustainability and circularity accessible to everyone.” To promote sustainable living practices, BARBIZON developments would be integrated with green roofs and urban farming initiatives along the roofs and terraces. The shared green spaces — known as a “green valley” — would be accessible to all residents to help build a sense of community while providing habitat for local flora and fauna to boost biodiversity, thus bringing back a “balance between city and nature.” Photovoltaic systems could also be installed on top of the building to generate renewable energy. + AEMSEN Images via AEMSEN

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Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing

April 9, 2020 by  
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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, making a trip to the grocery store has become a stressful experience for many people around the world. To help minimize risk, Rotterdam-based design studio Shift architecture urbanism has developed self-initiated designs for hyper-local micro markets to make shopping for food faster, safer and more accessible. Designed with a 16-square grid and three market stalls, the open-air proposal emphasizes flexibility and mobility as well as social distancing. The traditional open-air fresh produce markets have long been an important part of the Netherlands. However, their existence and the livelihoods of some fresh produce vendors have been threatened during the coronavirus outbreak; while some of the large weekly or semi-weekly street markets have stayed open in some parts of the country, the city of Rotterdam has closed all such markets. Related: Pop-up prefab hospitals proposed as healthcare centers during pandemics While Shift architecture urbanism acknowledges that supermarkets have not been closed and that some people have access to online shopping, it believes that the shutdown of street markets harms vulnerable, lower income groups by forcing them to congregate and shop at more expensive supermarkets. The architects’ hyper-local micro market proposal would preserve access to open-air markets for basic food needs while maintaining social distancing with a one-person-per-cell policy in the market’s 16-square grid setup. Constructed from flexible and mobile units, each market would have one entrance and two exits. To further limit time customers spend in the grid, the three market stalls — each selling a different kind of food, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products or meat — would offer a pre-packaged bundle of goods instead of separate products. “Shift’s proposal is to keep the vital function of the fresh produce markets fully intact, even strengthening it, while at the same time minimizing its potential role in spreading the virus,” the architects explained. “Its former model of concentration has to be replaced by a model of dispersion, both in space and time. This is done by breaking down the large markets into so-called micro markets that are spread over the city and opening them up for a longer time. Instead of you going to the market, the market is coming to your neighborhood. These hyper-local markets are open at least 5 days a week instead of twice a week to further reduce the concentration of people.” + Shift architecture urbanism Images via Shift architecture urbanism

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Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing

Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

April 2, 2020 by  
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In its latest example of circular construction, Dutch architecture firm cepezed has completed Building D(emountable), a modern structure that can be fully demounted and is currently located in the heart of Delft. Designed as a building kit of prefabricated parts, the office raises the bar for sustainable architecture in the Netherlands, which aims to make all construction activities fully circular by 2050. Building D(emountable) was created as part of an office complex mostly housed in historic buildings on a centrally located site that cepezed purchased from Delft University of Technology in 2012. Over the years, the architecture firm repurposed the existing historic buildings into offices; however, it opted to demolish the site’s single non-historic structure due to its poor condition and to make way for new construction. Completed in late 2019, Building D(emountable) provides a modern counterpart to its historic neighbors. The building houses office space; the current tenants are app and website developer 9to5 Software and game developer Triumph Studios. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy “Building D(emountable) has exactly the same footprint as the existing building that was no longer good and was demolished,” cepezed said of the four-story building, which encompasses nearly 1,000 square meters. “In addition to being demountable and remountable, the structure is also super lightweight: the use of materials is kept to an absolute minimum. The building is also completely flexible in its arrangement, has no gas connection and is equipped with heat recovery .” Apart from the concrete ground floor, all of the building components are modular and dry-mounted to allow for speedy construction, which takes a little over six months. The building structure — from the steel skeleton to the lightweight Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) floors — was assembled onsite in just three weeks. Double-glazed panels were mounted directly onto the steel structure to create walls of glazing that give the building the appearance of a large, glass cube. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

BREEAM-certified renovation for 70s modernist icon in Amsterdam

January 28, 2020 by  
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MVSA Architects has dramatically breathed new life into Amsterdam’s iconic Rivierstaete — a monolithic 1973 modernist office building on the Amstel — with a sustainable and architecturally sensitive makeover that connects the building to the riverfront and surrounding community in a way unlike ever before. Completed last year, the renovation has earned a BREEAM Very Good distinction for its future-proof design that emphasizes flexibility as well as energy-saving technologies. The addition of green roofs and terraces help absorb stormwater runoff to make the building “Amsterdam Rainproof.” Located in the south of Amsterdam , the eight-story Rivierstaete was originally designed by architect Hugh Maaskant as Europe’s largest office building in the early 1970s. In recent years, the massive modernist building has struggled to attract tenants and, in 2013, international real estate company Vastint purchased the structure in a public sale and tapped MVSA Architects to lead the redesign. Instead of taking the easier option of demolishing and constructing a new building on site, the team decided to embrace the original design with a renovation. Critical to the redesign was opening up the building to the surroundings, which necessitated replacing the original pinched band of windows on the white-tiled facade with floor-to-ceiling glass . The new glazed facade, along with planted roof terraces added at different levels, gives the building a more open and inviting feel. The roof terraces, roof gardens, and green roofs also help provide water buffering and retention. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy The glazed facade helps bring a greater amount of natural light indoors, which have now been rendered completely asbestos free to contribute to a cleaner and healthier working environment. Daylight control and motion sensors as well as solar shades provide optimized and energy-efficient climate control. The interior layout has also been reconfigured for flexibility to ensure a future-proof design.  + MVSA Architects Images via MVSA, Barwerd van der Plas, and Philip Lyaruu

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BREEAM-certified renovation for 70s modernist icon in Amsterdam

Self-sufficient floating office building for GCA will take anchor in Rotterdam

January 28, 2020 by  
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Copenhagen- and Rotterdam-based studio Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for a unique floating office building to be anchored in the historic Rotterdam port of Rijnhaven. Created as the new headquarters for the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), the contemporary structure will use a wide range of sustainability measures, such as heat exchangers and a green roof , to target energy-neutral, self-sufficient operations. The building, named Floating Office Rotterdam, will also be built entirely from timber. Led by former UN-Chairman Ban Ki-moon alongside Microsoft founder Bill Gates and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the GCA focuses on the mitigation of climate change through technology, planning and investment. Floating Office Rotterdam encapsulates the organization’s values with its sustainable design and will serve as a showcase of pioneering climate-resilient features. The unique building is expected to be opened by the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb during the international Summit on Adaptation in fall 2020. Related: Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdam’s Rijnhaven area Floating Office Rotterdam will break ground in spring 2020 at the Van Leeuwen grounds at the Masshaven before it is shipped to the Rijnhaven. Timber will be used as the main construction material to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, while passive solar principles have informed the design to reduce the energy demands. In addition to office space, Floating Office Rotterdam will also include a restaurant with a large outdoor terrace and a floating swimming pool in the Maas River. “Designing a sustainable, floating office building was a very challenging commission, and we approached it in an integrated way,” said Nanne de Ru, architect and founder of Powerhouse Company. “By using the water of the Rijnhaven to cool the building, and by using the roof of the office as a large energy source, the building is truly autarkic. The building structure is designed in wood; it can easily be demounted and reused. The building is ready for the circular economy .” + Powerhouse Company Photography by Plomp and Atchain via Powerhouse Company

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Self-sufficient floating office building for GCA will take anchor in Rotterdam

MVRDV’s garden oasis in Utrecht includes a green-roofed convention center

December 9, 2019 by  
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MVRDV has unveiled designs to transform the underutilized area on the west side of Utrecht’s central station into “a garden in the city” with a new, green-roofed Jaarbeurs convention center. The redeveloped events venue will be at the the heart of a 600,000-square-meter masterplan. Created to achieve BREEAM Excellent certification, the project has been fittingly named a “city oasis” by Jaarbeurs CEO Albert Arp for its inclusion of accessible green space, the beautification of the streetscape and the focus on sustainable design. Developed in collaboration with SITE Urban Development, the masterplan for the Jaarbeursdistrict will redefine the area as one presently dominated by cars into a more pedestrian-friendly destination. The new design will introduce a car-free street — the “Jaarbeurs Boulevard” — that will serve as the neighborhood’s new backbone and provide access to the new Jaarbeurs convention center as well as create a direct link from the station to the shops and restaurants along the Merwede Canal and areas beyond. Related: This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power In addition to the inclusion of sustainable technologies, the new Jaarbeurs venue will feature an accessible green roof that descends to the ground level via cascading terraces that can be reached from all four sides. The spacious green roof will house a rooftop park with a “carpet of programmable ‘squares’ and gardens” to host a wide variety of programming and renewable systems, such as water storage and energy generation. Construction of the Jaarbeurs events venue is expected to start in 2023. “It is rare that a private party not only invests in its own building but also includes the environment in its plans,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “This masterplan shows that Jaarbeurs is passionate about the city and dares to think outside the box. This is desperately needed, because this underutilized area has the potential to become a fantastic neighborhood with the venue as its core — an attractive green ‘hill’ in the city. The plan is also an opportunity to significantly improve the city and properly connect the center, the station area, the Merwede Canal zone and the Kanaleneiland.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare

December 5, 2019 by  
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When Marjo Dashorst and Han Roebers set their sights on designing a sustainable home in Zutphen, a municipality on the east side of the Netherlands, the couple turned to Amsterdam-based practice Attika Architekten to realize their dream. The goal was to develop an energy-efficient home that would not only meet all of its own energy needs through renewable systems but also be capable of producing enough surplus energy to charge an electric car . The resulting project, aptly titled the Energy Plant House, combines solar panels, passive solar strategies and a highly insulating envelope to achieve its energy-plus goals. In contrast to its more traditional, gable-roofed neighbors, the Energy Plant House sports a contemporary, boxy appearance. The three-bedroom home is spread out across two floors: a ground-floor volume clad in sand-lime brick and a partially cantilevered upper volume wrapped in reclaimed 60-year-old Azobé campshedding planks. Reused Stelcon plates anchor the terraces. Large sliding glass doors on the north and south sides of the home create a seamless connection between indoors and out. Related: Snøhetta completes world’s northernmost energy-positive building To meet the client’s goals of an energy-plus home, the architects installed 32 rooftop solar panels with a capacity of 9.6 kW. Energy production is supplemented with a 8kW heat pump with a closed source at a depth of 180 meters as well as a heat exchanger in the ventilation system. Energy efficiency is optimized with a well-insulated envelope and vegetated roofs. Strategically located windows — from the skylights to the tall east and west windows — flood the interior with natural light despite the northern orientation. Unwanted solar gain from the south end is mitigated with an overhang from the cantilevered upper volume; advanced remote-controlled outdoor awnings have also been installed to shade the residents from harsh sunlight. + Attika Architekten Photography by Kees Hummel Fotografie via Attika Architekten

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Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare

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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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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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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