Triodos Bank’s mission is to realize a sustainable society. The bank does this by making people aware of the consequences of their economic actions on fellow human beings and the earth. However, visitors, employees and clients that went over to the bank’s main office did not experience Triodos’ mission; the bank’s birthplace on the estate ‘De Reehorst’ was outdated and no longer adequate.
This is why Triodos Bank decided to breathe new life into their homeland and to make the bank’s mission come to life in their estate. Together with Triodos Bank, Landgoed De Reehorst Foundation and other parties in the area Arcadis Landscape Architects went in search of ‘De Reehorst principles’ and how this is reflected in the Triodos System. It became a joint search for how we can give the bank’s birthplace a quality boost that will enable it to enter the 21st century. The guiding principle in this is sustainability, which focuses on circularity, nature, water, energy, culture, mobility, and the economy.
Timo Cents who worked on the project said: “The new head office adds a contemporary layer to the landscape at the estate. The placement and shape of the building take the flight paths of bats and the distance to the existing forest edge into account, for example. New groups of trees add to the long views across the estate from the office. Various routes lead visitors past picturesque locations like the amphitheater and the reflecting pool. The estate is made up of a series of intimate spaces around the building, leading to a panoramic view by the A12.” Our colleague Leonieke Heldens adds: “The estate and the ground floor of the building, with a restaurant and meeting center, are open to the public. The nature at the site will be boosted by the expansion of the Netherlands Nature Network (NNN), with newly dug ponds, for example. This creates a connection between the Utrecht Hill Ridge and the Kromme Rijn region”.
The new office thus forms a new economic support for the estate, thereby contributing to the preservation and continuity of De Reehorst and the various social and cultural activities that take place in the area. The placing of a modern building contributes to another rich tradition in the Stichtse Lustwarande: every renovation was done in the style at that time. That is why Arcadis opted for a modern design of the building. A contemporary addition to the landscape can show that history can also be contemporary, and that history is also made in the present. The new head office thus fits in as a new layer of time in the landscape of the estate.
The sustainable impact of the end result is particularly impressive. Triodos’ vision to build the office completely sustainably has found ground. The office is energy neutral thanks to the application of heat and cold storage (ATES) and the use of solar panels. The green roofs in the office have an insulating and cooling effect and are also insect-friendly. The roofs collect rainwater that is used for flushing toilets and watering the estate. The construction is largely made of wood, and special glass ensures a pleasant indoor temperature. The tables where meetings are held are made of trees from the estate. The building has a BREEAM certificate Outstanding and is, therefore, one of the top 12% most sustainable buildings in the Netherlands.
Cycles are also closed within Triodos Bank. To close the food cycle, the estate, for example, aspires to grow crops on the estate for its users, such as Triodos Bank and Antopia culture and conference center. The (rain-)water, energy and waste cycles are also completely closed. The Triodos Bank office is perhaps the most special in this context because it is demountable and modular and made from sustainable and recycled materials. This makes it possible in the distant future to take it apart and rebuild it somewhere else.
The transport use of users of the bank has also been considered. Triodos Bank attaches great importance to the fact that its new accommodation is very easily accessible by public transport and by bicycle. The direct location at the Driebergen-Zeist station stimulates the use of public transport, and a large bicycle shed and basement with charging points stimulate bicycle use. In addition, electric driving is also motivated by the parking lot, which is equipped with ± 3,300 m2 of solar panels. The site is equipped with 120 bi-directional charging stations for charging electric (shared) cars, which in turn can supply energy to the office.
Landgoed De Reehorst is part of the Netherlands Nature Network (NNN). Within the design, the estate has become an important link between the fragmented nature reserves of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and the Kromme Rijn area. Close cooperation between the parties involved has resulted in an integrated plan for the area, which gives a positive impulse to nature on and around the estate. Due to the redevelopment of the estate, NNN will not only become a better functioning NNN but it will also be expanded in surface area. The ecology and biodiversity are given a new impulse here: the design of the building takes into account the flight paths of bats and the lighting plan also takes into account the disorienting effects of lighting at dusk and night for birds and bats. It also includes vegetated roofs, nesting boxes for birds and bats and spaces for amphibians.
Together with Triodos Bank, Architect Thomas Rau and Interior architect Odette Ex, Arcadis has created a place where it is pleasant to work and to be. The new sustainable establishment represents a redevelopment, revitalization, and quality improvement of the existing estate. The balance between culture, nature, and economy at Landgoed De Reehorst enriches the Triodos Bank’s identity and reconnects the bank literally and figuratively with its environment, where it was founded in 1980.
Landscape Architects: Arcadis
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: RAU Architects + Ex Interiors
Project location: Hoofdstraat, 3972 LA Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Nizozemska
Design year: 2011-2018
Year Built: 2017-2019
Manufacturer of urban equipment: Timberlab