— Project description —
The building department of Transition Town Groningen, the Foundation Carbon Neutral Building has provided this exciting, challenging and relevant project. The idea is to convert an old office building downtown into an energy-neutral high-rise village. With this project, the foundation strives to move from running local community projects to thinking and acting much bigger, on a global scale.

The city of Groningen has the ambition to be the most sustainable city in The Netherlands by 2035. Therefore, there is a need to change the way of both; acting and thinking. This project can be the first step to reach this goal, improving people’s life style.

The assignment contained the office building located in the city centre at Eendrachtskade 2, commonly called “The Black Box”. It was built in 1976, and the actual technical condition is poor with inadequate insulation. When the building remains empty in 2014, the most obvious next thing to happen is the demolition. But, due to climate impact, the objective is to reuse the building by adding new functions and giving it a purpose again.

— Orientation —
The client provided us with a concept design full of different ideas, which had to be analized first, in order to give them the best possible solution. Three wishes were the most important. First of all the change of function. Secondly is to create common gardens for permaculture. The last one is to add a second skin, made of glass, to improve the insulation value of the existing complex.

In order to create a good living area, we had to find answers to a lot of upcoming questions. Therefore, several researches had to be done before we could start designing. At the beginning of the project we were aware that a more durable environment depends also on the usability and the affordability, before it can be realized. This became the guideline of every research. Although the researches were divided among the team, they were linked to each other, sharing a common objective: the development of the energy-neutral high-rise village.

During the design process all the researches found each other and shaped the transformation of “The Black Box” into the green village. The team is proud to present you the Green Village:

— Result —
The green village is split up in three clear visual divisions. On the groundfloor and first level a public area with public functions. In the high existing building there are hundred dwellings located and next to it, in the new high rise building. the permaculture has been planned.

We have created a public interactive area, with several small volumes, on human scale where people can go in, go up and come through. These small volumes contain public functions like a restaurant, a supermarket, health care clinic and more to come. This allows people to meet each other in the core of the area. By using this public zone we expect a growing acceptance by inhabitants which was a problem in the current situation.

The next intervention is the new volume at the corner of the crossing. This will change the accent of the entire complex, making it’s appearance stronger. Now it stands there, welcoming you, and allowing you to enter. The icon is now a point of reference. Within this new volume the common gardens are placed, implementing ‘small plot intensive farming’, a variant of permaculture. This choice means that there is room for meeting other people in the garden and there is the possibility to grow your own food. On six floors, with a total of nearly 5.000m2, and a distance of 7m between the floors, the appearance is transparant and green. And thanks to glass facade around it, a subtropical indoor climate will be created.

The only thing that remained about the existing situation is the construction of the high rise building. Within this construction multiple types of dwellings will be made for seniors, families and students. Orientated from north to south, the dwellings catch maximum daylight saving energy and even have the possibility to ventilate on a natural way. The whole volume is covered in a second glass skin, which roof has a slope of 35° facing south, so the solar panels can be placed on the perfect position. In addition the heat inside the glass façade in collected and stored under the ground, the remaining heat will be generated through a heat pomp. It is time for energy neutral living.

Editing: Lucía Jiménez & Tom Visser
Collaborators: The BlackBox Group



  • @vuelvelucia

    Gracias 🙂 Puedo asegurarte que lo suyo ha costado

  • @Abdulmaya

    Bravo Lucía! Gran trabajo 🙂

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