DRIEBERGEN (NL) - Listed buildings are a valued part of a society's cultural heritage, but at the same time their high maintenance and energy costs, together with the many restrictions placed on alterations, can make them an onerous burden for their owners. It is clear that with both adaptive reuse and sustainability becoming increasingly important themes, there is an urgent need for new architectural solutions for these buildings. This renovation of a listed villa, a collaboration between Zecc Architecten and OPAi (oneplanetarchitecture institute, the knowledge centre of architect Thomas Rau), serves as an example for the future.
The high ambitions for the project began with the local authority which, rather than simply putting it up for sale, promised it to whoever could come up with the most sustainable renovation concept in combination with a reasonable offer. The prospective buyer (a foundation committed to sustainable renovation of historical buildings) consulted OPAi, who came up with the idea of an energy-neutral heritage building, the first in the Netherlands.
The big challenge facing the designers from Zecc was that for each and every intervention they had to strike a careful balance between the heritage quality of the building and the new energy concept. It was a form of integration for which no ready-made recipe existed and which in future, too, will have to be determined on a building-by-building basis.