A bank inside a wooden reconstructable materials bank

Dutch architectural firm RAU Architects and interior design agency Ex Interiors were commissioned by the Dutch Triodos Bank and developer EDGE to design a fully reconstructable wooden office building, also serving as the First temporary material bank.

The building, located in Zeist, the Netherlands, is described as a wooden ‘cathedral’ with no clear front or back. Once inside, the transparency of the building and the special wooden construction become clear. The fully glazed façade extends from floor to floor, allowing in an abundance of natural light. The wooden construction is made from laminated rafters and CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) cores. The CLT storey floors are partially camouflaged by wooden tracks and the ceiling elements. The ground floor has a large storey height, creating the impression of a ‘cathedral’, especially with the wooden rafters placed around the wooden cores. Workspaces have been separated by acoustic transparent partitions or solid walls with a linen finish.

The three transparent, uniform towers run from south to north and are alternately connected on the ground, first and second floors.

Both the lower parts and the towers consist of a unique wooden construction. Floors, shafst and columns, all made of wood, together form the construction of the ‘cathedral’. The building contacts over 1,600 m3 of laminated wood, more than 1,000 m3 CLT and 5 original tree trunks. Only the basement has a concrete structure because of water management. According to the press release, this created a building with the lowest CO2 footprint to date.

The interior was designed by Ex Interiors, and like the architecture, it took inspiration from nature with the use of wood for furniture, organic forms and sober use of colour.

While a normal bank will settle inside the building, the structure itself also functions as a bank: a materials bank. The cathedral has been designed in such a way it can be deconstructed without the loss of value. The entire building is literally screwed together with more than 165,000 screws.

Photos: Bert Rietberg – J.P. van Eesteren