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06/12/2020 Comments (0) Views: 115 Architecture, Environment, Technology

Nijmegen (Netherlands): building with materials that grow back

Two Dutch architects have just received an honourable mention from the jury of the Egurtek Prize, an international recognition that crowns architectural work using wood as an important element in new builds or renovation.

The five terraced houses of the Mijn Houten Huis project were built with Austrian pine. The façade is made of thermowood, timber treated at very high temperature, which gives it durability, strength and stability so no chemicals are required. This means that at the end of its life, this timber can be recycled or reprocessed without releasing any polluting substances.

Except for a few screws and sheets of metal, everything was made from natural and renewable raw materials. As Marije ter Steege, founder of Dutch studio MAATworks, points out, “I hope that our work will inspire not only our clients but also our colleagues. To avoid depleting our planet and producing too much CO2, we must build using raw materials that grow back. I have been working on it for more than ten years.

  • Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg
    Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg
  • Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg
    Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg
  • Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg
    Nijmegen © Marcel van der Burg

A project developed with its future inhabitants

Another feature of this residential complex is that it has been designed taking into account the needs and wishes of its future occupants. The Mijn Houten Huis project is designed to be as flexible as possible, bringing a maximum of prefabricated elements from the workshop. Studio MAATworks also encourages DIY construction: in 2015, they had already marketed a material based on cross-laminated timber (CLT) from sustainably managed forests.

The Dutch studio assumes that at a time when everyone wants to eat healthily, dress sustainably and travel responsibly, it is necessary to be logical and facilitate the possibility of living in a bio-sourced dwelling, whose design takes into account the climate, the sun and the wind. But one that is also designed with renewable materials, helping to capture rather than release ambient CO2, making the world cleaner instead of overloading it.

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