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The Natural Pavilion is designed “as a model for innovative bio-based construction”

Dutch firm DP6 Architectuurstudio has created a mostly bio-based pavilion for the Floriade 2022 horticultural expo in Almere, the Netherlands, which aims to demonstrate exemplary use of natural materials in contemporary construction.

The Natural Pavilion was designed by Delft firm DP6 Architectuurstudio as the Dutch government’s pavilion at the Expo and seeks to showcase an array of sustainable building concepts.

Exterior image of The Natural Pavilion
The Natural Pavilion is a timber structure that was built by DP6 Architectuurstudio

Floriade is a world horticultural exhibition that takes place in the Netherlands once a decade and The Natural Pavilion responds to the 2022 expo’s theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’.

The building focuses on the spatial challenges facing the Netherlands, which is confronting a housing shortage, as well as the need to restore biodiversity, adapt to climate change and make the transition to more sustainable energy and materials production.

Exterior image of The Natural Pavilion surrounded by plants
The pavilion serves as an example of bio-based construction

“The Natural Pavilion serves as a model for innovative bio-based construction and contributes to the increased application and scaling-up of bio-based solutions,” said DP6 Architectuurstudio.

“[It] demonstrates how circular, bio-based and energy neutral housing, schools and offices can rapidly be developed on an industrial scale, incorporating a wide variety of green elements.”

Interior image of an atrium space at The Natural Pavilion
The pavilion was constructed using locally sourced wood

The pavilion’s innovative building concept comprises a framework built using a matrix of indigenous, locally sourced wooden beams that are connected with standardised, recycled-steel joints.

The grid-like frame supports a variety of biologically sourced and recycled materials, including floors and walls made from cross-laminated timber, as well as windows made with glass reused from a government building in The Hague.

Interior image of The Natural Pavilion and its wooden staircases
It was built for the Floriade 2022 horticultural expo

“The environmental impact of the pavilion is kept to a minimum through the combination of bio-based and reusable materials, maximal reduction of resource-use, a light foundation of wooden piles, and integration of green elements into the building,” the architects added.

“The framework and wall elements are ‘plug-and-play’ prefabricated in the workshop, resulting in extremely low carbon emission.”

The prefabricated elements can be stacked up to 80 metres high and are easily transportable. DP6 Architectuurstudio claimed the system could be used to create more affordable, healthy and sustainable homes.

The construction method also helps to reduce CO2 emissions by using fewer materials, including many that are recycled, bio-based and fully circular – meaning they can be constantly reused.

The pavilion’s design was optimised to provide a pleasant internal environment with minimal artificial heating or cooling.

Interior image of an upper level of The Natural Pavilion
It responds to the expo’s theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’

The facades incorporate wooden louvres that are optimally positioned to allow natural light to illuminate the spaces while limiting direct sunlight. Self-adjusting glass louvres on the facades also facilitate natural ventilation.

The wooden sawtooth roof contains skylights that ensure soft northern light reaches down into the atrium. Operable sections of glazing in the roof also contribute to the natural cooling process.

Interior image of The Natural Pavilion and its views out to its gardens
Materials used in the pavilion are bio-based and renewable

Almost all of the materials used in the pavilion are bio-based and renewable. Internal walls are made from leftover materials from agriculture and horticulture such as straw, flax, paprika stems and spinach seeds.

Planting integrated within the building and its surroundings helps to support biodiversity, with nesting facilities also creating shelter for birds. Photovoltaic panels on the roof provide energy for the pavilion, while rainwater is collected for use in the building and garden.

Image of the gardens at the wooden pavilion
Gardens surround areas of the pavilion

The Natural Pavilion will remain in place at the Floriade Expo until its conclusion on 9 October 2022.

It will then be disassembled and rebuilt as an exhibition space and film theatre in various Dutch nature reserves over the next three years before its components are used in the construction of FlevoCampus – a research institute for urban food in Almere.

The Natural Pavilion is shortlisted in the sustainable building category of Dezeen Awards 2022.

Dutch studio Overtreders W used hempcrete and reclaimed timber to create a demountable pavilion named The Voice of Urban Nature for the Floriade 2022 horticultural expo in Almere, the Netherlands.

Photography is by Scagliola Brakkee.

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