Paul de Ruiter

The Biosintrum

A model for the bio-based economy

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2019 02 07 presentatie Bouwbeurs biosintrum Pagina 23
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Paul de Ruiter Architects have released their design for the new Biosintrum in Oosterwolde, on commission for the municipality of Ooststellingwerf. The brief was to create a building to meet the highest sustainability rating — BREEAM Outstanding — and form the heart of Oosterwolde’s ECOmunity Park. The Biosintrum will be a knowledge and innovation centre for the development of the bio-based economy, and will aim to embed the industrial and educational ecosystem of this economy even more firmly in Oosterwolde and the surrounding area. The centre will bridge the gap between industry and academia, and the construction and design of the building itself is to be realized in collaboration with local businesses and government agencies. This manner of collaboration and knowledge sharing is central to both the design and the design process.

Public buildings, Cradle 2 Cradle, BREEAM, Energy producing

A source of inspiration for the bio-based economy

The unavoidable transition from finite fossil fuels to biomass is one of the major topics of discussion of the day. The bio-based economy works on the principle that raw materials, namely renewable biological resources, can be processed in environmentally friendly ways, and turned into products that can easily be reconverted into raw materials at the end of their life cycle, during which more of the original biological resource will have grown. Consequently, a centre for bio-based activity is a logical and necessary step in the development of the existing sustainable business park. The Biosintrum will be energy-neutral, built from natural materials, and will act as a source of inspiration for students and professionals alike. The centre will offer a tangible experience of the bio-based economy, and provide a home for knowledge sharing and innovation.

The knowledge centre stands as a source of inspiration and provides a place in which to experience bio-based principles at work

Local innovation

Collaboration, innovation and sustainability are core elements of the knowledge centre. The practice of knowledge sharing between industry and academia has been adopted in the design process itself, as well as in the centre's construction. The NHL University of Applied Sciences is to advise on the use of bio-based materials, students from VHL University of Applied Sciences will determine the building’s energy neutrality and water-efficiency, and Stenden University students will develop the facility’s catering concepts. In addition, the restaurant will be run by students from local educational institutions. Further integration of the building into the local economy will be conducted in collaboration with local advisors. Meanwhile, materials for construction will be sourced locally. This idea of synergy and joint effort runs through the entire project, from the design of the building to the operation of the centre.

A benchmark in architecture

The coming together of unique biomass materials and timeless architecture has resulted in a design benchmark for buildings of this nature. Its iconic potential is reinforced by its unusual, Y-shaped floor plan. Each arm of the building will be devoted to a different discipline, with the centrally placed atrium serving as their connection hub. The shape is dictated by, and corresponds with, the functions within. The ground floor will accommodate a restaurant, meeting rooms and a conference hall. It will also include an educational area, offices and laboratory facilities. Study rooms will be situated around the atrium, strengthening the building’s capacity to stimulate interaction, and rendering connection and knowledge sharing visible.

In touch with nature

The new building will be characterised by an ample presence of natural materials and an ambience of openness. Personnel and visitors alike will experience the building’s sustainable qualities through the visible evidence of the bio-based materials used in its construction. The modular wood structure, for instance, will be left exposed, lending the building an air of durability while erasing the division between the natural world outside the building and inside. Close attention will be paid to the building’s details, which will be executed in similarly natural fashion; these will include untreated Accoya wood window frames, cradle-to-cradle flooring, a recycled plastic insulation dome, biocomposite wall cladding and a vegetable and herb garden. At the very heart of the building will rise a tree, a living symbol of the centre’s ecological ambitions.

A building for and by a sustainable community, rooted in knowledge sharing and collaboration, and set for a leading role in the bio-based economy

The Future

The new knowledge centre represents an invaluable addition to the ecologically dedicated business site that is the ECOmunity Park. The natural, modular construction ensures a minimal ecological footprint and a pleasant, open ambience. Its innovative form is both distinctive and inviting, and the design offers the building as a facilitator of interaction between academia and industry. This, in short, is a building for and by a sustainable community, one that’s rooted in knowledge sharing and collaboration, and set for a leading role in the bio-based economy.

Read more about this project and how it is helping to support the environment [in Dutch].

Project details


Name and location Biosintrum, Oosterwolde
Total floor area 1.000 m2
Program Biosintrum knowledge centre: restaurant, meeting rooms, conference hall, educational area, study rooms, offices and laboratory facilities
Start of design September 2016
Start of construction September 2017
Completion December 2018
Certificate BREAAM Outstanding


Client Municipality of Ooststellingwerf
Project architect Paul de Ruiter
Project team Martijn van Gameren, Florina Nentu, Ronald Hageman, Noud Paes
Project management 4THECITY
Architectural supervision Martijn van Gameren
Construction consultant Adviesbureau Lüning
Installations consultant Installatiebedrijf Bakker
Sustainable construction Consultant DGMR Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Structural engineering consultant Landstra Bureau voor Bouwfysica Noord
Construction cost consultant KAMPHUISSCHAUFELI bouw- en kostenmanagement
Contractor Natuurlijk Bouwen B.V.

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