Circular constructions shine at Floriade

The construction industry in the Netherlands is experimenting with circularity. The nature pavilion at Floriade Expo 2022, for example, appears to be a beautiful testing ground for circular and bio-based materials. Together with designer Diana de Krom (ABT), we explain the design and design process.

We visit the Floriade square on a pleasant summer day. Despite all the critical notes that have been made about the arrangement, the view of the whole and the stay in Almere is very pleasant. We won’t talk about flora here, but it is certain that circular construction – also due to the nature of this temporary exhibition – is flourishing there. Such as the Natural Pavilion, which excels in the use of 100% circular materials, 95% of which are bio-based. Diana de Krom (project manager circular structures, ABT; image below) was responsible for the integrated design of this temporary pavilion, which was developed by a consortium led by the Noordereng Group.

WoodCore modules

Circular constructions shine at FloriadeThe chosen modular structure is derived from a previous project, EnergieHotel in Ede, which was changed to a residential concept. The HoutKern modules developed here make it possible to build up to a height of 70 metres. In Almere there are three floors of more than ten meters in total. De Krom: “The planned hotel in Ede is close to a Natura 2000 area. Nitrogen emissions are then the decisive factor for all kinds of choices. For example, we focused on a low CO in the design2footprints and low GPR scores and thus we reached the wooden modules. By building light and prefabricated, you further reduce nitrogen emissions during construction tremendously.”

“Continuous management of the sustainability score in a design”, continues De Krom, “not only produces a circular building, but also provides insight into components that can be made even more sustainable. From the calculations of the MPG, the Environmental Performance Buildings, we learned that the foundation and the facade glass are elements that, after the supporting main structure, have a significant negative impact.”

“The proposal for Den Naturlige Pavillon was a bio-based or circular building. The team tackled this with a bio-based and circular foundation of wood and recycled glass in the facades. In addition, we have also been able to reduce the negative impact of the installations by using natural principles in their design. This keeps the installations and the required energy to a minimum.”

Design freedom

The building itself consists of cubes that do justice to the concept of ‘Legolisation’. Detachability is fantastic and the construction allows certain places to be done without modules. De Krom: “When you start working with modules, buildings based only on rectangles can look very boring. However, the Houtkern Modules also offer great design freedom, so the architectural studio DP6 has created a playful design. To achieve this, we have added elements to the modules, such as modular roof beams to create a cavity, wooden stairs from CLT and wooden platforms. We have also designed two modules ‘joined’ so you can make cantilevers. This has created a playful building made up of standard elements that can all be reused.”

Circular constructions shine at Floriade

Dutch wood

The massive wooden columns, the most striking part of the structure, come from trees recently felled in the Netherlands. De Krom: “For the wooden columns on the outside, we used a type of wood that can better withstand moisture. Inside the building, the wooden structure may show cracks due to drying out. However, this is taken into account when calculating the forces. With the Dutch climate, I don’t expect much dehydration here, partly because the building is not heated. We will look at it differently with a house. The moment this property is disassembled, we will inspect the pillars. In addition to being a bio-based and therefore circular material, wood is also a flexible material that you can easily adapt and repair.”


A striking detail is the ingenious steel knobs, which have been specially designed for this building. At each corner where the modules meet, they connect the wooden beams and columns. In the original design (Ede), the knots were even more complex. It had to do with the requirements placed on a hotel, for example in the area of ​​fire safety and noise requirements. The art was mainly to design the buttons in such a way that, in addition to their constructive function, they are also easy to assemble and disassemble.

“The walls are not load-bearing”, continues De Krom, “and can be removed anywhere. In this way, your building can be divided flexibly and you can always reach the nodes. The knots are also of great importance for the acoustics. By choosing heavier steel nodes, with more mass, the impact noise from the columns at these nodes is dampened. Thanks to this design, we have also been able to tackle the noise problem of housing construction modules.”

Residual value

“When you designed these modules, you also saw that the processes with wood are not yet as exhausted as with concrete,” says De Krom. “We have used the latter material for a long time, the processes with it have all been optimized and it can be produced as cheaply as possible. Oosterhoff colleagues are investigating how to include the residual value of a building in the investment estimate. They have calculated the Natural Pavilion and arrived at a very high residual value. This is largely due to the high release index of 83%.”

Read the entire article about the Natural Pavilion in the digital magazine Circularity.

Floriade Expo 2022 can be visited until next Sunday, October 9.

Text: Ysbrand Visser
Statue The Natural Pavilion: ScagliolaBrakkee

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