Adaptive construction avant la lettre

Echo, the building designed by UNStudio for Delft University of Technology, is the main subject of Arjan Dingsté’s lecture. “Because it’s so modular, it’s even groundbreaking for the way we want to design buildings,” he says. “In this project we really figured out how we want to design from now on: with human health first, thinking from people’s perspective, which leads to very cool solutions. But also always with design in mind. The building is made entirely of glass. It is not actually done today If you want to build that is energy efficient, but plenty of natural daylight contributes to better health and user well-being.For the same reason we have also provided, for example, a completed floor to which fresh air is added, which is a healthier option than a ventilation system So we have applied a lot of innovations with the aim of improving human health.”


building positive energy

Please note: Despite the large windows, we managed to design an energy efficient building. Moreover, the building is energy-positive, partly due to the fact that the roof is completely covered with solar panels, the presence of an ATES installation and a heat pump, dynamic protection from sunlight, green spaces on the facades – which are still to be grown … Proven positive effect on The mental health of the building’s users, but also the environment and therefore the health of humans and animals outside the building. “

But energy efficiency, while important, shouldn’t be the only starting point. After all, this issue is designed so that if you focus only on energy efficiency, you often end up with a high-tech building where people are forgotten. This is why we regret that BREEAM certification, for example, places so much emphasis, up to 60%, on energy efficiency. So we ourselves are always looking at other criteria, such as WELL requirements, which largely depend on human physiology.”

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circular building

Pioneering design of healthy buildings for people. So that’s what UNStudio wants. However, this isn’t the first time the agency has moved up the curve. Thus, when it focused more on technology and less on human health, it was one of the first agencies in the world to adopt parametric design. Also, even before the software even existed, it actually started designing with BIM over twenty years ago. UNStudio used software that was used in the automotive and aviation industries.

But UNStudio also embraced circular construction many years ago. And the agency has a clear idea about it. “In our opinion, the first point of interest if you want to build circularly should be to extend the life of the building,” explains Arjan Dingsté. You can achieve this by building as more adaptable as possible. The canal houses in Amsterdam are a good example for me, avant la lettre, because there was no talk of adaptable building. These were warehouses consisting of a living room and large storage rooms. Well, these spaces are designed so that they can later be converted into homes in a relatively simple way. So a large network is very important. Needless to say, we also used this approach in designing the Echo. We have created large open spaces with movable walls. The steel structure required for this purpose has thicker beams than if you were working in small spaces, but we calculated that this does not outweigh the flexibility it generates from an environmental and economic point of view.”

Moreover, it is also a demountable building. Because that’s the second aspect of circular construction that we stick to very hard beyond lifespan: dismountability, so we can reuse as many building elements as possible. The packages we used have large and common sizes for easy reuse. “

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“We also drew the circular map of other building materials. For example, we used acoustic panels made from PET bottles and old jeans and chose bamboo instead of wood, because it is renewable faster. We didn’t go for concrete floors either. CLT was a logical choice, but because it was We then have to add a lot of materials to make the large spans essential for the flexibility, acoustic comfort and fire safety of the building, it turns out it’s not a sustainable option either – which at first sight looks sustainable, it’s not always.They were hollow core panels, prestressed concrete panels with Hollow spaces. All materials were placed as logically as possible in relation to one another, according to Steward Brand’s Shear Layering Model.”


“Circular Fitting Brings Big Returns”

“Finally, we also chose a circular design in the Echo, because its importance should not be underestimated. This is ignored by many interior architects and building users, but even if you are not thinking circular but purely economical, second-hand furniture is always the right choice. Unlike building, you replace the fixtures more often, on average every eight to ten years.If you can then make a profit every time by not looking for completely new materials but for retrofitting…plus, The role of circular fit-out cannot be underestimated from an environmental point of view; it significantly reduces the building’s overall emissions.”

Echo does not have a Materials or Applications Passport according to Product as a Service. “TU Delft was not immediately interested in such a passport. We certainly find the product as a service a very powerful model in the context of circular construction, but it has not really been applied in the building.”

In his lecture, Arjan Dingsté will also explain some other examples of UNStudio projects, such as the new headquarters he designed for Booking.com which is currently being built in Amsterdam. “It will be delivered in the fall. A special project, in which the building with a total area of ​​​​72,500 square meters will be located in the city center, in addition to 63,000 square meters of office space, will also provide public spaces and apartments. Despite the large number of people who will work there, it has been Provide 50 parking spaces just to make room for a two-wheeled two-wheeler bike park.”

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“Another project that I will talk about briefly is the new Rijkskantoor building in Eindhoven, a building that meets all the requirements of a modern office and stems from the transformation of the former head office of Rabobank.”


competition question

So those interested can visit LifeCycles, where Arjan Dingsté will deliver a lecture on September 29. You can buy a ticket and watch the full program at life cycles. Ticket prices range from €205 for one day to €355 for three days, with prices adjusted for students. The site is now also known: the Vynckier site, at Nieuwevaart in Ghent.

This event is supported by Revive, some networking organizations, leading brands such as Delta Light, Polestar, Grohe and some media partners. Since Architectura belongs to the latter group, we are allowed to give away some tickets in the lead up to the event. The three-day ticket has already been withdrawn earlier, through this article, we will be giving away one ticket twice on the day of your choice. All you need to do for a chance to win is answer the following competition question before September 17th via an email to [email protected]: Which speaker recognizes with his office both The Cube in Berlin and one of the leading buildings in Copenhagen?

From everyone who gave us a correct answer, we will then draw 2 winners, whom we will contact via email. Good luck and God bless you!

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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