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Proyecto Roble, Berkel-Enschot, Netherlands

Sunday 30 Dec 2012

Back to 'pee-in-the-pitcher'

Equipe Architecture and urbanisme [copyright photography: Rene de Wit] 
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Award Entry

Equipe designs a punchy red office for pure green workers 

Proyecto Robleâ by young office Equipe is a grassroots project, a building embedded in the local context in the rural south of the Netherlands. The client, owner of landscaping firm Van Helvoirt Groenprojecten, had a vision for his headquarters to be a flagship model of sustainability. This was to be a key project where sustainable innovations replace money-issues as the bottom line.

The building is a custom designed environment with no standard details. The project was undertaken as a research into the potentials for creating a positive workplace. Key themes were broken down into components and expressed in the design. 'Feel Good!' was the catchphrase coined that encompassed the different themes as renewable energy, passive climate control, abundance of natural light and the relationship to the external landscape, which was to be a showpiece of healing environment garden.

Sustainability was been payed attention to in all stages and all scales. From a period of studying what 'sustainability' actually means to making sure everyone on the building site understands and embraces these principals. Thus, a new way of tendering was used, called the 'Building-team Plus' and a new formula was invented to document decisions on materiality and techniques. The new extension immediately catches the passing motorists eye, a sleek red form in the agrarian landscape, replete with a fully integrated photo-voltaic-panel roof and a green roof.

The green roof transcends its cosmetic role, and is a testing ground for emerging water filtration technology. In the beginning of the 20th century Tilburg was re-known for its textile industry, collecting the workers pee in pitchers for using it as a bleach. Now this project goes back to this tradition inventing worlds first sloped constructed wetlands.

Urine is separated from the black water using it a as a nutrition ingredient for making fertiliser in the clients landscaping activities. Further, the grey water runs through the grass roof leaving it as clean water that can be used in the building again. This is only one of the multiple innovations in this project that has been designed to the smallest detail: from building to garden, from the bicycle shed to the bespoke interior and signposting.

The building was completed in june 2012, the interior finished in september 2012. Proyecto Roble has won 3 Dutch awards: The ARC12 Architecture Award by Architect magazine for its outstanding architecture combined with a high performance on sustainability; The Social Innovation Award by the University and the community of Tilburg, for its unconventional tendering; Honourable mention at the Green Building Awards for its unique constructed wetlands.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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Equipe architecture and urbanism

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