LocationZeist, The Netherlands
Architect in ChargeErik Knippers
Text description provided by the architects. Ambulance workers do a challenging job that is physically and mentally demanding. The client asked for a responsible and resource-efficient building that would offer a comforting environment for the staff. The layout of the building is designed to offer views of nature, while sparing existing trees. Natural materials, mainly various types of wood, are used throughout the building. Wood is sustainable and regrowable, it contributes to a friendly and relaxing atmosphere.
The building is located on the outskirts of town, near the edge of a forest. The L-shaped plan is carefully positioned between existing trees. A large beech tree shades the 4 meter high window in the main staffroom.
An ambulance post has no public function, patients will never enter this building. We decided to design no façade facing the road to the entrance of the nearby hospital. Instead green sloping walls rise from the ground and transform into in the curved line of the roof, blending in with the surrounding trees and the edge of the woodlands.
The building is almost energy neutral thanks to a highly insulated envelope. Heating and cooling are provided by an all-electric system with a heat pump and a solar water heater. 100 Solar panels provide electricity.
Wood has many advantages as a bio-based and healthy building material. We opted for a laminated timber construction. The timber-frame facades, the siding and the window frames are also made in wood.
The curved shape of the roof is the main theme of the interior. The wooden trusses remain visible in the entire project.
Glued laminated timber lends itself beautifully to make curved beams in one piece, with minimal loss of material. The beams were shaped in the form we needed to support the curving roofs. Laminated timber is ideal for large spans that are difficult to achieve in normal timber.
The sloping walls are covered with fast-growing climbers. Two thirds are Hedera Helix (common ivy), which are very robust and wintergreen. Between the ivy one third of Clematis montana 'Rubens' give a sprinkle of pinkish white flowers in the early summer. The roof is covered with a sedum carpet.