The circular pavilion The Green House officially opened its doors last April. It offers space for a meeting center and a restaurant with its own urban farm. The project is an initiative of Strukton, Ballast Nedam and Albron. The circular architecture is by cepezed.

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Project Name: The Green House
Location: Croeselaan 16, Utrecht, Netherlands
Client: R Creators, Maarssen, Netherlands
Architect: architectenbureau cepezed, Delft, Netherlands
(project team: Ronald Schleurholts, Jaap Bosch, Ruben Molendijk, Robertus de Bruin, Mathieu de Danschutter)
Interior architect: Coster Design, Arnhem, Netherlands
Stability consultant: Pieters Bouwtechniek, Delft, Netherlands
Mep-consultant: Strukton Worksphere, Maarssen, Netherlands

bouwfysica, akoestiek, brandveiligheid en duurzaamheid
building physics, acoustics, fire safety & sustainability
DGMR, The Hague, Netherlands
Greenhouse design: HRBS/Moss, Amsterdam
Green wall: Royal Ginkel Group, Veenendaal
Contractor: Ballast Nedam, Nieuwegein Netherlands
Time frame: October 2016 – March 2018
Gfa: 680 square meters
photography: cepezed | Lucas van der Wee

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In 2014, cepezed was commissioned to transform the former Knoopkazerne army barracks on the Croeselaan in Utrecht into a modern day state office. The Central Government Real Estate Company also requested a solution for the space between the Knoopkazerne and the adjacent head office of Rabobank. Because a definitive destination for this location will probably take some fifteen years, there was a need for a temporary use to enliven the area that would otherwise remain vacant. cepezed developed a plan in which both the function and the architecture are based on circularity.

The Green House accommodates a ‘circular’ restaurant concept plus meeting facilities. It functions as a hub for visitors, students, and businesses to gather, eat fresh food, collaborate, and learn. In accordance with the principles of circularity, the building (including the foundation of prefab concrete blocks) is completely demountable. In fifteen years it can be taken apart and rebuilt elsewhere. The aim was also to implement reclaimed and reusable materials as much as possible.

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The two-storey pavilion was designed as a generic building kit with a removable steel frame made of galvanized profiles. The overall dimensioning of the structure is derived from that of the smoke glass facade panels of the former Knoopkazerne; these have been re-used for the second skin and the greenhouse of the pavilion. The circularity of the building also lies in the choice of the right floor in the right place. For the ground floor, street clinkers from an old quay in Tiel were applied instead of the classic poured concrete. The clinckers are put on a compacted sand bed with underfloor heating. The first floor consists of prefabricated wooden elements. For agreeable acoustics, the elements are filled with insulation and the reused ceiling slats are mounted with some room in between. For the roof, the choice fell on a light perforated steel sheet also filled with acoustic insulation. With a glass curtain wall, the plinth of the pavilion is completely transparent. For the closed parts of the façade on the first floor, prefabricated timber frame panels were used. These are 100% recyclable and (H) CFC-free.

The Green House By cepezed - Sheet17The Green House is the first restaurant to have an AC-plug-free kitchen in which food is prepared without electricity but with energy-efficient ovens fired with renewable fuels. For a large part, the interior is equipped with reused furniture gained by means of urban mining. All new furniture was made from recycled materials. The roof of the pavilion is filled with solar panels.

On the first floor, next to the meeting rooms, The Green House incorporates a 80m2 greenhouse for vertical farming, the practice of producing food in urban areas with vertically stacked layers. Preserving biodiversity, tackling waste and reducing the amount of energy used to produce, transport and distribute food are the primary environmental benefits associated with vertical farming. In the greenhouse, more than 60 varieties of herbs and vegetables for the restaurant kitchen are grown. Thus, crops at The Green House are harvested right on site, omitting packaging and refrigeration. And with the kitchen just a few steps away, they don’t get much fresher than that! A vide in the pavilion makes the publicly accessible greenhouse visible from the restaurant below, which substantially adds to the experience of The Green House.

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The Green House By cepezed - Sheet16The large green wall also contributes significantly to the experience of The Green House. It is not only entrancing and convivial and thus adding to an agreeable atmosphere, but also has a variety of functions that benefit the interior climate and the well-being of the users of The Green House. The plants have air-purifying properties: they neutralize harmful gasses such as CO2 by absorbing them and breaking them down. Also, they provide oxygen and add to a well-balanced temperature and humidity. The green wall was implemented by the Royal Van Ginkel Group, which used a patented system for vertical vegetation on façades and partitionings it developed in cooperation with Wallflore. The system is based on a high-quality magnelis-zinc construction resistant to corrosion. The construction is provided with rockwool plant panels connected to an innovative system for the right amount of watering and nourishing. The system is fully stand alone. The Green House-wall measures 65 m2 and contains some 3400 plants. Some sixty percent is predominantly green (Scindapsus scandens, Asplenium nidus, Nephrolepis ‘Green Fantasy’) and some 40 per cent is predominantly multi-coloured (Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Aureum’, Epipremnum ‘Enjoy’, Chlorophytym, Syngonium hoffmannii).

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022