Discover Benelux, Issue 32, August 2016

Page 10

Discover Benelux | Design | Top Dutch Architecture Guide

Connecting people through sustainable design TEXT: KOEN GUIKING

To create a comfortable environment for people to work, study or live, Paul de Ruiter Architects designs “from the inside out”. The designs aim to make optimal use of natural daylight and natural airflow to reduce the energy consumption of buildings. Paul de Ruiter Architects has been a pioneer in sustainable design since its foundation in 1994. Only once the architects have an idea of how to shape the inside space of a building, do they start designing the exterior. That is not to say the exteriors are an afterthought; far from it. A real eye-catcher is Villa Kogelhof in Zeeland. This luxury home, in the middle of a nature area, is completely self-sustainable. “It generates more energy than it consumes. Surplus energy is used to charge an electric vehicle,” says architect Paul de Ruiter. An abundance of sunlight can enter the “floating”, glass living area. Excess warmth is collected and stored in the earth to heat the house during

colder days. But there is more to this building than meets the eye: “To respect nature, we placed the garage and storage space in an underground volume hidden underneath the pond,” De Ruiter explains. In 1992, De Ruiter started his PhD thesis about buildings that produce energy, rather than consume it. Sustainability has always been an integral part of all his work; whether he designs a school, parking garage or someone’s home. The office of FedEx/TNT that Paul de Ruiter Architects designed in 2009 is still the most sustainable office in the Netherlands.

Villa Kogelhof. Photo: Jeroen Musch

TNT. Photo: Alexander van Berge