Building sustainably with wood and mycelium at DDW

With two pavilions at Ketelhuisplein in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week (19-27 October 2019) The Embassy of Circular and Biobased Building challenges the building world.

With problems like climate change, increasing subsidence levels and resource scarcity, the call for a more biobased and circular economy is becoming stronger, also in the world of architecture.

The Growing Pavilion
With this project, Company New Heroes, and the Dutch Design Foundation collaborated with partners such as Biobased Delta, CoEBBE, Fiction Factory, Primum and to put biobased and circular building on the map.

The building consists entirely of biobased materials, all sourced as locally as possible, as the soil in the province Brabant is very rich and there is a lot of knowledge available. The raw materials include hemp, cattail, cotton, rice straw and Miscanthus, aspen wood, Scots pine, and various mushroom and mould species. These raw materials were turned into mycelium façade panels, bio laminate floors and furniture, ECOboard benches, a cotton roof, a Kerto construction, and coatings against mould, moisture damage and fire prevention.

The Netherlands currently faces a ‘nitrogen crisis’. Because of too many nitrogen emissions, many construction projects have been put to a halt as the government struggles to find a solution.

Biobasecamp is “a pavilion and an architectural expression of how ‘building with trees’ can contribute to the reduction of CO2 and the reduction of nitrogen by replacing conventional building materials such as concrete with biobased materials”. It shows how building with wood has been used throughout the ages, and will be used in the future, mainly in the form of CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber).

For most building parts, there is a biobased alternative, like wood wool and cellulose for insulation, and hemp and flax for biocomposite elements. Especially the use of solid timber for the structural shell has a lot of potential. Using fast-growing wood, it can be turned into solid CLT elements, by sawing and gluing the wood on perpendicular layers. These elements can be CNC milled into shape, preferably modular, and are assembled on site.

By building with wood, CO2 is extracted from the atmosphere and stored. In addition, the emission of nitrogen over the entire construction chain is many tomes lower in biobased building than in traditional building processes. This is mainly due to the reduction of construction site handling, as it deals with many prefabricated building components. Biobased material is also a lot lighter, which means it costs less energy to build with and transport them.

The CLT used for the pavilion is made in a German factory using German coniferous wood, but Studio Marco Vermeulen, the brains behind the pavilion, advocates the development of Dutch CLT. Brabant’s poplars, used traditionally in the production of clogs and matches, could be a source for Dutch CLT. That’s why the pavilion’s deck is supported by branches of poplars that were recently cleared away due to their age and the risk of being uprooted.

Photos: DDW