Planet

How we look at the world

Sustainable since 1994

We are genuinely optimistic about the future. This optimism is the reason we built this practice around the idea of innovative sustainability when we established it in 1994, and why our buildings are environmentally friendly, promote biodiversity and support the health and well-being of their occupants. The practice stems from a philosophy developed by its eponymous founder in his doctoral thesis, published in 1992 under the title The Chameleon Skin. The central plank of this philosophy was that buildings should generate energy rather than consume it.

Focus on the human factor

Our buildings are designed to be sources of energy not just in the technical sense, but also in human terms. We consider values such as mental and physical health and a building’s ability to stimulate creativity alongside quantifiable factors such as daylight optimization, and use the resulting ideas to produce intelligent sustainable buildings with an in-built degree of flexibility that makes them adaptable to the changing needs of their occupants. These buildings, furthermore, share certain important characteristics, among which is a pleasant indoor atmosphere in which there is a high degree of face-to-face interaction and a common feeling of well-being.

Buildings as embodiments of circular design

We view buildings as material banks composed of elements that remain valuable beyond the utility they provide in the present, and constitute the building material of future architectural structures. Recycled and biobased materials are much more valuable than single-use materials owing to their minimal environmental impact and the part they play in bringing about a sustainable world — the less waste the better. A building material’s value also lies in the ease with which it can be salvaged and repurposed. Choosing building materials on these bases is crucial for the global transition to carbon neutrality.

The building as source of energy

Sustainable design is in our DNA, and this trait is manifested in our buildings. Facades, for instance, are designed to respond to shifting environmental conditions, enabling them to obtain and conserve as much solar energy as possible. Energy consumption is further reduced by means of sustainable ideas, systems and technologies. This triad lends our buildings unique, distinctive and innovative qualities, and each one capitalizes on local weather conditions and the natural landscape in a way that is both logical and explicable.

Innovation

We have been designing energy-generating buildings since 1994, and are pioneers in the development of sustainable technologies. By combining research with 3D modelling in construction and energy-efficient design programs such as BIM and Sefaira, we continue to improve the performance of our buildings and expand the frontier of cradle-to-cradle design in architecture

Ecology

At the core of each design is a desire to facilitate the connection between a building’s users and the rest of nature. For instance, green roofs and facades help promote biodiversity, and form part of a sophisticated system of water conservation that befits the demands of climate change. Our designs are also products of a nature-inclusive approach that seeks a seamless overlap between indoor and outdoor spaces with respect to greenery, achieved by means of indoor gardens, green walls and atria. This is obviously good for the environment, but also for the health and well-being of a building’s occupants.

Measurable sustainability

We seek to raise the profile of sustainability as an architectural goal by making it measurable. To this end, we are among the parties involved in the development of building certification methods. Our own buildings meet the highest current standards of sustainability, and we have the best record in the Netherlands on environmental responsibility as certified by BREEAM, LEED, GPR and GreenCalc+.

The beauty of sustainability

Visual appeal and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they reinforce each other. This understanding is why our dedication to sustainability actually inspires us to innovate and design in a way that makes the visible features of sustainability part of our buildings’ appeal. The more visually appealing we make sustainability, the more we encourage others to do the same, and the closer we get to a sustainable world.

Business as a force for good

Paul de Ruiter Architects is committed to sustainable business practices and social responsibility. A measure of this commitment is our B Corp certification, which verifies a company’s entire social and environmental performance. B Corp companies around the world seek to use business as a force for good. Other certified companies include Tony Chocolonely, Dopper, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia.