When the Dutch city of Venlo decided to become the world’s first region to fully adopt Cradle to Cradle (C2C) principles, it seemed only fitting that their city hall be a beacon for sustainability. Designed by Kraaijvanger Architects, Venlo’s City Hall features a striking transparent facade engulfed by a massive green wall. Made with more than 100 different plants, the 21,500-square-foot living wall is among the largest in the world and it absorbs 30 percent of airborne sulfur and nitrogen oxides — roughly equivalent to the particulate matter created by 32,300 square feet of motorway.

Sustainable civic architecture Venlo City Hall by Kraaijvanger Architects

Green wall Venlo City Hall by Kraaijvanger Architects

Located on the east bank of the river Meuse, Venlo City Hall comprises offices, a plaza, a public hall, exhibition space, meeting rooms and a garage that includes bicycle parking. The new building, completed in 2016, consolidates services that had been previously spread out across the city. Access to natural light, greenery and a variety of adaptable work spaces aids in creating a healthy working environment.

Modulo green vertical wall Venlo City Hall by Kraaijvanger Architects

C2C Dutch city Venlo City Hall by Kraaijvanger Architects

A central light-filled core floods the interior with daylight and allows for natural airflow, replacing the need for mechanical ventilation. Heat trapped by the greenhouse located on the top floor is recycled to provide heating for the building. Water use is minimized, and a wetland roof purifies gray water and rainwater for reuse in irrigating the green wall and flushing toilets.

On the left, exterior image of the city hall. On the right, image of the light-filled core.

Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Green Architect & Cradle to Cradle Founder William McDonough

“The construction is future-proof; the interior is built independently of the supporting structure and thus leaves a possible change of function a future option,” the architects wrote. “On a smaller scale, there is room for unforeseen developments in the field of sustainability; all building-related systems can be replaced without major interventions.”

+ Kraaijvanger Architects

Images via C2C Center