RAU Architects - Triodos Bank Netherlands, a circular wooden "cathedral"
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Triodos Bank Netherlands, a circular wooden "cathedral"

RAU Architects

Office&Business  /  Completed
RAU Architects

RAU Architects and Ex Interiors build a wooden 'cathedral’
A fully reconstructible office

Wooden Cathedral
Triodos Bank's new fully sustainable and circular office, designed by RAU Architects and Ex Interiors, was officially delivered to the bank. Triodos Bank and developer EDGE wrote out the commission to design a fully reconstructible, wooden "cathedral" that will function as a worldwide example for circular and sustainable building. The office is the first large-scale reconstructible office building with a 100 % wooden structure. This building also serves as the first materialbank. In the development of the new offices for Triodos Bank, the focus lay on the creation of a working environment, in which people would naturally feel connected with each other, with the estate and with nature. A project with a mission: to design a building with areas that go beyond the development of a modern office building, namely by creating an environment in which the head and the heart are connected, making a logical connection with nature as well as becoming aware of how to manage resources.

The new office of Triodos Bank is located on De Reehorst Estate in Zeist, which is part of a protected nature area in the Netherlands. In 2011, Triodos Bank decided to build a new office in De Reehorst. The aim was to achieve a "gesamtkunstwerk" in which, from day one, there was optimal cooperation with all other advisers By giving the design maximum circular potential, a dynamic balance is created between nature, culture and economy. The arrival of Triodos Bank has led to new momentum to bring the estate into the 21st century. The entire building, both the lower parts and the towers, consist of a unique wooden construction. Wooden floors, wooden shafts and wooden columns together form a spectacular construction like that of a “cathedral".

Landscape rooms
The composition and form of the five-storey building is inspired by nature, the rhythm of the landscaped rooms in the surrounding estate and the flight paths of bats. The three towers are completely wrapped in a transparant facade from ground up. The curved shape provides a beautiful and unique view from every spot in the office. Because of its shape, three new “landscape rooms” are created between the edge of the forest and the building and create a diversity of new landscape qualities around it. The interior designed by Ex Interiors further reflects the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Interior landscape
The new working environment becomes a meeting place for people and nature and will be enriched by the increasing social cohesion. Not only the function of the buildings, but the architecture and interior contribute to it too. The Triodos office is a pioneering ‘meeting building’, in which the interplay with nature and the spontaneous encounters between employees and visitors unfolds itself naturally. It offers space for a combination of working and relaxation, and for observation and concentration. The working environment no longer focuses on activities, but on users. The interior design was inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature. The choice for organic forms, sophisticated materials and austere use of colour, provide a natural stillness when entering, and reinforces the blending of the building with the surrounding area. The wooden cores and ceilings, which were inspired by the shape of a mushroom, emphasise the nature outdoors and lead to an integrated refinement inside the building.

Wood Stance
The entire building, both the lower parts and the towers, consist of a unique wooden construction. Wooden floors, wooden shafts and wooden columns together form a spectacular construction like that of a "cathedral". The composition of the building and its glass facades ensure maximum natural light penetration and a magnificent view of the estate so that all employees work not only on but also in the estate. The building contains 1,615 m3 of laminated wood, more than 1,008 m3 of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and 5 original tree trunks. Only the basement has a concrete structure because of water management. This has created a building which stores 1.633.052 kg CO2. This means it is CO2 negative, storing more CO2 than it produces, even during construction.

Sustainability optimises the present
Valuable does not have to be expensive – In addition to integrating the very highest sustainability goals and obtaining the BREEAM Outstanding certification, the new office is also an energy-neutral housing that meets the highest health requirements of processed materials. For example, the share of wood in the main supporting structure reaches almost 100%, and only natural textile is used in the interior. Climate islands regulate the climate at the micro-level. Therefore, integrated sustainability forms the basis for this socially responsible (building) development.

Circularity facilitates future
A building as an option for the future - RAU Architects sees a circular building as a temporary combination of products, components and materials with a documented identity. The origin and planned re-use of all products, components and materials are carefully documented in order to be able to easily offer them new usage in the future. It is important to anticipate possible changes as far as possible when designing buildings due to changes in user requirements, differences in the useful life of building components or external influences such as changing regulations or climate change. Facilitating the permanent consequences of impermanence is, therefore, characteristic of the design. By converting real estate into 'loose goods', a building with maximum circular potential has been realised: rebuilding without loss of value. The building is literally screwed together with 165,312 screws. This means that whenever dismantling the building, the circular potential can be activated 100% without loss of value of materials, components and products.


 Triodos Bank
 Rau Architects
 Ex Interiors, Arcadis
 JP van Eesteren
 BBN advisers, Deerns, Aronsohn, dGmr, OVG real estate
 Derix, Bosman Installatietechniek, Octatube
 Ossip van Duivenbode & Bert Rietberg


RAU Architects design buildings with a strong emphasis on sustainability. RAU is actively involved in the international discussion on sustainability. In a world where nature is threatened by human activity, we consider it our mission to make a positive contribution through our presence and our work. Designs by RAU are characterised by a proficient level of sustainability.

Committed to the long-term interests of the planet and its inhabitants, RAU buildings feature high-tech implementations of e.g. smart heating, cooling and ventilation systems, integration of structure and mechanical services. This is combined with low-tech architectural solutions. Although material quality, structural and mechanical design are considered vital elements for achieving physicality in design, the incorporation of the human factor is what distinguishes RAU. With the intention of exploring new ways of synergy between technology and architecture, RAU has developed an integrated design methodology.


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