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Triodos Bank

Zeist, Netherlands

Information about the reference project

Type of building:

Office and Business


Façades, Windows

Series (no longer in the portfolio):



Zeist, Netherlands




Rau Architecten BV

Specialist company:


Picture credits:

© Ossip Duivenbode

Inspired by nature

Inspired by nature

As an energy neutral building that can be completely dismantled, the new Triodos Bank office building in The Netherlands with a timber structure and glass façade is setting global standards in circular construction. The materials used are documented comprehensively in a digital material passport. The undulating, glazed aluminium façade is particularly spectacular and so much more than just a treat for the eyes.

It is commonly accepted that building on land results neither in greater biodiversity, nor in the creation of new habitats for animals. When the diggers move in, the plants and animals have to move out. Particularly in the densely populated Netherlands, competition for space is fierce and effective protection of the climate, nature, soil and water is extremely difficult. Completed in autumn 2019, the Triodos Bank office building on the De Reehorst estate in Driebergen-Rijsenburg, approximately 45 kilometres from Amsterdam, is a perfect example of how these aspects can be brought into harmony. The construction and design of the 13,000 m2 newbuild is based on the principles of nature and biomimicry, thereby imitating natural life. Stretching across three interconnected towers that are 3, 4 and 5 storeys high respectively, the complex blends into the landscape with its organic shapes, refined materials and natural colours. When it reaches the end of its lifecycle, its carbon footprint will be minimal. If the building needs to be dismantled and rebuilt, it can be quickly taken apart and screwed back together.

Driving force for a circular economy

Driving force for a circular economy

The construction process for this architectural masterpiece was just as demanding as the concept was unusual. The integration of the newbuild into the landscape required a great deal of skilful planning to ensure it looked like part of the ecosystem rather than a foreign object that had fallen out of the sky. The project also required a brave client with a vision for the future and the patience of a saint. Triodos Bank had both. Efforts to find a suitable office building near Utrecht and Amersfoort to accommodate the growing staff numbers were in vain. In 2011, a decision was made to construct the new office building on the De Reehorst estate. The choice of location was in no way a last resort – this is the place where the Dutch bank was founded in 1980. It was crucial for the building to have a positive impact on people, nature and the environment. After all, the sustainable bank, which is active in 43 countries with assets totalling over 20 billion euros in 2020, only invests in projects with social, ecological and cultural added value. The newbuild therefore had to reflect this philosophy too. Ideally, a building would be created that would go far beyond the previous limits of sustainability and provide impetus for circular construction.

Beyond the status quo

Beyond the status quo

As a pioneer of the circular economy and multi-award winning architect, Thomas Rau was the perfect fit for this project. Widely regarded internationally as a trailblazer for circular, climate-positive and innovative buildings, Rau, who is known for challenging the status quo and always looking for better solutions, designed the two headquarters of Triodos Bank in 1999 and 2006. The architect sees buildings as a “limited edition”, a combination of materials, products and components limited in time, with a documented identity. In 2017, he founded the charitable Madaster Foundation and launched the online platform of the same name for the creation of digital material passports for buildings. In addition to RAU Architects, the property developers EDGE Technologies, construction company J.P. van Eesteren, interior design company Ex Interiors and many other parties were involved in the building project.

The façade as both a feature and stabilising element

The façade as both a feature and stabilising element

Visionary Rau lent the building its spectacular character through the use of amorphous curves in the building structure with a fully glazed aluminium façade. The breathtaking design of the façade was brought into being by means of a special Schüco construction based on the AWS 75 BS.HI+ window system as an insert unit. The highly thermally insulated block window with a 75 mm basic depth has extremely slim outer frame profiles with concealed drainage and no visible vent contours. The system boasts Uf values of between 1.5 and 2.0 W/(m2K) and fulfils the highest requirements in terms of energy efficiency and architecture, while also offering maximum transparency. The version used here perfectly highlights the lightweight character of high-quality aluminium window constructions. Furthermore, aluminium has a number of other unmatched benefits: durability, stability, robustness and 100% recyclability.

The façade substructure took on an important stabilising function by supporting the load-bearing timber units. The passive house-certified Schüco AOC 50 add-on construction on steel (ST) with a 50 mm face width impressed here, both technically and in terms of design, with outstanding performance characteristics which combine energy-efficient construction, streamlined fabrication and reliable installation. A new insulating principle enabled a highly thermally insulated vertical façade to be constructed with a Uf value of no higher than 0.8 W/(m2K). It was possible to achieve the large pane dimensions with triple glazing by means of an innovative, patented screw guide which permits infill thicknesses of up to 63 mm and a maximum weight of 1500 kg. The sealing components without the use of sealant in the vertical façade proved to be instrumental in achieving a professional finish. In addition, the building authority-approved use of powder-actuated fastener technology for steel substructures enabled a shorter fabrication time compared to welding.

Location of the reference project