Office Building RWS Terneuzen

by Katleen De Flander

Project by: opMAAT
Project Name: RWS Terneuzen
Project Links: opMAAT

Although it is a bit tricky to find, this building is definitely worth a visit if you are into sustainable building. Unlike many other “sustainable” buildings, this building incorporates many aspects including material (re)use, renewable energy (canal water, solar), natural ventilation and the water cycle (helofytenfilter, green roof).

(RWS = Rijkswaterstaat = Governmental sea and river control agency)

This office building in Terneuzen has been in use since 2000 and is one of the most sustainable office buildings in The Netherlands. The building has a triangular shape with an atrium in the middle. The atrium contains several functions such as a canteen, meeting places, printing facilities, etc. and has an excellent inviting informal atmosphere.

Many of the building’s materials are reused waste materials such as old mooring posts (for facade cladding, stairs, etc.) and old basalt blocks. The main building structure is made out of wood and many other materials are recycled and renewables such as loam stone, cellulose insulation from old newspapers, natural paints, etc.

The building is naturally ventilated. A heat pump extracts the heat from the canal water to heat the building through floor and wall heating. The PV panels on top of the atrium also function as blinds. Solar panels produce warm water. The building has its own waste water treatment in the form of a constructed wetland (helophytenfilter), the treated water is used for toilet flushing. By making a green roof and minimising hard surface around the building, all rain water is buffered or infiltrated. Because of these measures, a sewerage connection was not necessary.

Picture credits: OpMAAT

Published on 2. September 2011
by Katleen De Flander


a reference blog on resources, urbanisation and transformation


The driving thought behind this BLOG is that we are in the need of a major transition in thinking and we need to get inspired. We have to approach ‘living’, ‘moving’, ‘using’, ‘creating’ in a different way. Many designers, urban planners, architects and other creative people are frontrunners for change and frontrunners need to be appreciated and shared.

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The team

Katleen De Flander
Katleen De Flander
Urban Environmental Research
Architect | Urbanist | Project Curator
Juan Pablo Ayala-Cortés
Juan Pablo Ayala-Cortés
Industrial Designer
Social Scientist


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