The Dutch Mountains by Studio Marco Vermeulen. Image: Studio Marco Vermeulen, via inhabitat.
Smart, circular, high-tech and radical. These words describe The Dutch Mountains (TDM), a new project in the Netherlands that’s set to be the world’s largest timber building.
Located in the region of Eindhoven, a famous tech and design hub and the birthplace of Philips, TDM is the vision of Rotterdam-based developer BLOC, architecture practice Studio Marco Vermeulen, and consultancy firm Urban Xchange.
The 80,000sqm multi-functional building will be constructed with Cross Laminated timber (CLT), and feature a mix of users, functions and activities—from workspaces for tech companies and meeting places such as auditoriums and a park, to hotel and short-stay apartments.
Unlike many mixed-use developments today, TDM isn’t designed to soar into the sky. Instead of competing with the world’s tallest buildings, it’s focused on a generation of the longest buildings. This horizontal character, which spans 440m, aims to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing between multiple companies—both established businesses and smaller start-ups—within one facility, and beyond.
“Instead of individual expression on a limited scale, businesses will become part of something much bigger they can derive their identity from,” the TDM project team says.
However, the project goes far beyond sustainable building materials and the re-imagination of the office of the future. The structure itself is also designed to be upgradeable. Take for instance the building’s proposed energy-generating façade. In the event that a greener façade system is invented, the team will be able to replace this existing exterior, which will be recycled or processed.
“From its inception the concept has been developed by tech companies and service providers who are normally only involved much further down the development chain. Together they are developing a new ‘white label’ service concept: an integral ‘ecosystem’ of services and technologies built around the user,” the team explains.
“This new service concept enables individual users to reside as pleasurably, comfortably and healthily as possible in the building—every user can regulate their own personalised environment.”
This distinct service model means spaces and rooms are adaptable, while software and hardware, including light, heating, food, furniture and installations, are to be replaced over time. The data-driven and experience-directed nature of the complex adds to its upgradeability.
This resulting unprecedented level of flexibility ensures the building is able to adapt to business, social and technological changes.
At the same time, TDM will be entirely self-sufficient, with closed cycles in energy, water, waste and materials. This is possible, thanks to a survey developed in the project’s exploratory stage that covered over 100 technologies that could be integrated into the building.
The Dutch Mountains is expected to commence construction in mid-2019, with an end-2020 completion date. Joining the core team are developing partners Asito, Beveco, Dell Technologies, HEYDAY, SPIE and Strukton. Arup and Off Road Innovations are the project’s knowledge partners.