Completion Date: March 2016


PATCH22, Amsterdam, Netherlands

PATCH22, a 30m tall high-rise in wood, was one of the successful plans in the Buiksloterham Sustainability Tender in 2009. The initiators, the architect Tom Frantzen and building-manager Claus Oussoren, wanted to achieve independently what they had never been able to manage when working on commissions for their previous clients: an outsized wooden building with a great degree of flexibility, striking architecture and a high level of sustainability, not because that was what was required but because that is what ought to be done.

The project was developed for their own account and risk in the middle of the crisis years of 2009-2014, and innovative financing solutions were conceived and implemented to meet this challenge. The project incorporates numerous innovations in the technology used and application of technical rules, all aimed at achieving the desired flexibility without having to make compromises. Examples include the hollow floors and removable top floor, the lack of shafts in the apartments — achieved by having the piping and cabling taken horizontally to central shafts in the core — and agreements for a fixed ground lease with flexible positioning of the functions within the building.

But the most unusual feature is the use of a wood as the main structure for the 30m-tall building. Moreover, the wood has largely been left visible, making this a key factor in the ambience of the apartments and the exterior.

In Patch22, ‘sustainability’ is achieved through energy efficiency, the use of renewable materials and great flexibility in the floor plan layout options. The 2009 design for Patch22 had a GPR score for sustainability of 8.9/10 and an EPC for energy efficiency of 0.2. The roof is entirely covered with PV panels, making the building energy-neutral. Rainwater is collected and reused in a grey water system. Heat is generated using CO2-neutral pellet stoves that use compressed waste wood from the timber industry as fuel.

The high-rise section of the 5400m2 building can be converted from commercial space into residential space and vice versa without any changes being needed to the shell. The storeys, which shift in and out in a playful manner, can be used as large loft apartments of up to 540m2 with huge balconies, as up to eight smaller apartments or as open office space covering the entire floor thanks to the lack of structural dividing walls, the generous storey height of 4m and the high floor load of 4kN. Apartments can be subdivided or merged, and the division into apartments will remain flexible in the future. The apartments themselves offer complete layout flexibility because the occupants are able to install the pipework and wiring to their own need and demands in the hollow floors with demountable top layer.

When the building was completed in March 2016, it consisted of five single-family homes and 26 very different apartments with ancillary office space that allow the owners to customize their homes completely.

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