The Dutch architecture firm Powerhouse Company designs Valckensteyn, the first timber building set to affordable housing in the Netherlands.
Together with housing corporation Woonstad Rotterdam, Powerhouse Company sets out to realize an ambitious plan to design the Netherland’s largest affordable housing complex built in timber.
Rising to 12 stories with 82 homes, the timber building is situated in Pendrecht, a post-war neighborhood in Rotterdam. It sits on the site of a residential flat bearing the same name, demolished a decade ago.
Designed with sustainable and circular economy principles, Valckensteyn is an efficient yet elegant timber architecture that makes nature-inclusive living in wood accessible to all:
- with a concrete ground floor and core, 11 stories are built in cross-laminated timber (CLT), a carbon neutral and carbon sequestering material that generates 40% less waste than traditional methods of construction.
- without the use of adhesives, the building is demountable and flexible.
The relative lightness of the timber design, compared to one in steel and concrete, presented the unique opportunity to build on top of the old building’s foundations – a sustainable decision, removing the need for new foundations and significantly reducing materials and waste.
‘The ambition of Woonstad to realize a residential building in wood has been answered with an elegant, circular and integrated sustainable design. The lightweight wooden structure makes it possible to reuse the foundations of the building that stood there before.’ says Stefan Prins Partner at Powerhouse Company
The collective gardens by LAP Landscape & Urban Design are publicly accessible and create a pleasant and playful living environment for both humans and animals.
Rich vegetation and plants flowering year-round attract bees and other insects, stimulating biodiversity. Even the carpark has high sustainability ambitions. It is designed as a “green carpet” with integrated water filtration and cement-free paving stones.
Surrounded by this lush greenery, residents enjoy connections to the outdoors from floor-to-ceiling windows whether on the lower floors or from expansive views on the upper floors.
Generous timber clad west-facing balconies span the width of the apartments with vistas of the park and the evening sun.
The ground floor is entered through a plinth clad in travertine – a typical high-quality postwar material and a nod to the neighborhoods’ past. In the ample lobby, a comfortable communal space – like a large living room – improves social cohesion within the building.
‘Our nature inclusive design really raises the quality of life for residents, with flower gardens and arboretums they can enjoy from their large balconies.’ says Daphne Delissen Project Architect at Powerhouse Company
The lobby has a strong connection with the bicycle storage. Creating the sensation of one large inviting space with abundant daylight, it aspires to be the most beautiful bicycle storage in Rotterdam, and to add to residents’ enjoyable experience of cycling.
Valckensteyn’s design strength lies in its repetitive nature, that not only makes it highly efficient, but allowed us to focus on maximizing the quality and sophistication of its detailing.
By developing the design aesthetics through the efficient use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), the wood remains exposed as much as possible.
With its higher and lower volume, the wooden architecture reverberates the massing of the post-war building that previously stood in its place.
With construction starting in January 2022, Valckensteyn leads the way to sustainable timber building set to affordable housing.
Landscape architect: LAP Landscape & Urban Design
MEP advisor: IOB
Fire protection advisor: IOB
Structural engineer: IOB
Geotechnical engineer: Geomet
Cost consultant: IOB
Visualizations: Powerhouse Company