Rotterdam-based architecture office Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for Valckensteyn, a circular and sustainable building expected to become the largest timber-built affordable housing complex in the Netherlands. Commissioned by housing corporation Woonstad Rotterdam, the pioneering, 12-story project will feature 11 stories built of cross-laminated timber without the use of adhesives to allow the building to be demounted and reassembled elsewhere as needed.

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rendering of 11-story timber building

Proposed for the post-war Rotterdam neighborhood of Pendrecht, the 40-meter-tall Valckensteyn will occupy the site of a residential complex that was demolished a decade ago. Due to Valckensteyn’s relatively lightweight timber build as compared to steel-and-concrete construction, the architects will be able to repurpose the old building’s foundations — a sustainable design decision that helps to significantly reduce the project’s carbon footprint.

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rendering of timber building with several balconies on every floor

For stability, the affordable housing complex will comprise a concrete ground floor and core. The ground-floor lobby will be clad in travertine — a post-war material with strong ties to the neighborhood — and house a large, inviting space with what the architects hope will be “the most beautiful bicycle storage in Rotterdam.” Cross-laminated timber construction will be exposed in the above floors, where all 82 homes will enjoy connections to the outdoors via floor-to-ceiling windows and timber-clad, west-facing balconies. A lush landscaping plan designed by LAP Landscape & Urban Design will surround the building and stimulate biodiversity. The carpark will also integrate cement-free paving stones and water filtration systems to take on the appearance of a “green carpet.”

rendering of timber, west-facing balcony

“With project Valckensteyn, Woonstad set out the challenge to develop a responsible and sustainable housing supply for middle-income families,” said Robbert Groeneveld, senior project manager at Woonstad Rotterdam. “The desire of Woonstad for a wooden building has been developed into an integrated design where sustainability, housing comfort and nature inclusivity come together.” Construction on Valckensteyn is expected to start in January 2022.

+ Powerhouse Company

Images via Powerhouse Company

aerial rendering of buildings in a city