Parelvisserslaan

A model of sustainable architecture
  • housing
    housing
  • BREEAM
    BREEAM

Paul de Ruiter Architects were invited to collaborate with the eco property developer Gideon Goudsmit on a project to turn a vacant office block in Amstelveen into the most sustainable, energy-generating apartment block in the country. The work was to follow the principles of circular construction and our design was to result in an instant landmark. The existing block had already been designated an Energy Plus building, and this contributed to our ambition to push the boundaries of sustainability to a degree never before attempted in a building of this sort. The outcome of our collaboration was a smart and innovative, future-proof apartment block.

The building is equipped with sustainable facilities that provide a high degree of comfort and convenience

The concept of the passive house

The new construction has 109 apartments, offices for rent and a vegetarian restaurant. We based its design on the idea of the “passive house”, a construction concept designed to minimize a building's ecological footprint by various means, including the recycling of energy. The building is also equipped with sustainable facilities that provide a high degree of comfort and convenience. We encouraged zero-emissions travel by providing 20 electric vehicles and a fleet of electric scooters and bicycles and equipping each parking space in the underground car park with its own EV charge point. As an additional incentive, we made the car park accessible only to residents in electric vehicles.

Parelvisserlaan 2 2019

Load-bearing structure maintained

The design retains the main load-bearing structure of the existing building, but increases its width, depth and height. We added a U-shaped extension to the base of the existing building, thereby creating a secluded private courtyard. We converted the old office basement into an underground car park with 123 parking spaces, storage rooms and bicycle parking facilities. The U-shaped addition is four storeys high, and we added seven floors, including the car park, to the original structure. The more spacious apartments are situated at the corners of the building, and increase in size and luxury with each floor. The top floor is made up of penthouses and studio apartments with private roof terraces.

The façades are largely floor-to-ceiling glass, and are designed to admit plenty of daylight and make the apartments feel open and airy

Open and transparent

The façades are largely floor-to-ceiling glass, and are designed to admit plenty of daylight and make the apartments feel open, airy and transparent. The north façade is sound-insulated to keep out noise from the streets. We incorporated nature into the design by planting trees at regular intervals behind the façade and leaving gaps in the floors above to allow them grow two storeys high.

Parelvisserlaan 3

Venturi principle

One of the main tower’s most striking features is its elegantly curved, wing-like roof. This roof is covered with photovoltaic and solar thermal panels, and is designed to generate both solar and wind energy. The roof was conceived according to the Venturi principle, which enables an increase in velocity in an air stream moving through the gap between the wing and the roof as it narrows. The air stream is funnelled into 24 rooftop generators, which convert the wind into energy. The U-shaped four-storey section of the building has a sawtooth roof that also features solar panels. These panels have a special white coating that maximizes their efficiency and yield.

This wing-like roof is designed to generate both solar and wind energy

The height of sustainability

We incorporated sustainability into every aspect of the building’s design. One of the criteria for awarding an Energy Plus rating is that the building in question generates energy and recycles as much energy as possible. The passive house measures that we incorporated into the design and the way the design exploits the building’s orientation provided the basis for energy generation. The block actually generates more energy than it needs, thanks to the considerable surface area of the solar panels (4,000 m²), allowing it to supply the rest of the neighbourhood with its surplus and feed the electricity grid. Energy is also recycled via the production of pellets from waste coffee grounds, which are then used to generate heat. Two 60,000-litre tanks harvest rainwater for the toilets and for watering gardens. The sanitary system is highly water-efficient and hot water is recycled for later use. The building is equipped with a mechanical ventilation system that filters and ionises the air circulating through it, to obvious beneficial effect. All light fixtures are LED, home automation systems ensure efficient energy-consumption management, and the elevators are energy-regenerating. These and other such measures qualified the building for a BREEAM Outstanding rating of environmental performance.

Model of sustainable architecture

The building supports the health and well-being of its residents and is as light in its environmental footprint as it is delicate and refined in appearance. Equally important, it stands as a model of progressive thinking and innovative sustainable design, and demonstrates what’s possible when design and sustainability are used to reinforce one another.

Project details

Information

Gross floor area 23,187 m² including underground car park
Project description 109 rental apartments and office space with restaurant and 123 EV parking spaces
Start design October 2015
Start construction Autumn 2017
Completion Spring 2019

Project Team

Client Green energy specialist and eco property developer Gideon Goudsmit
Design Paul de Ruiter Architects
Project architect Paul de Ruiter en Noud Paes
Project leader Willem Jan Landman
Project team Annemiek Bleumink, Oana Munteanu, Florina Raileanu, Ronald Hageman
Construction consultant Bouwadviesbureau Strackee
Building services engineering DWA
Urban planner Orri Steinnarsson (Gemeente Amstelveen)
Energy and water consultant Gideon Goudsmit Energie Positief
Cost consultants Ksbkm