ROTTERDAM (NL) - Office buildings in business parks often project a somewhat disposable quality that speaks of a general lack of concern for durability in their design. There are, however, exceptions. In Rotterdam's curiously named 'Brainpark', Mei Architecten built three small office buildings – called simply VI, V2 and V3 – that are clearly intended to endure for a long time. Each building has a distinctive facade; V1 has travertine facades, V3 a monolithic glass and stone facade.
The facades of the middle building, V2, designed for GoGo Tours, are clad with very wide laminated siding panels finished with a white translucent coating. The wooden siding is made from the very sustainable Accoya wood, which has a lifespan of at least 50 years and comes with FSC certification. The boards were fixed in place using coach screws that have been left visible. Accoya's manufacturer, Titan Wood, won this year's Columbus' Egg Award for sustainability innovation.
What sets Accoya apart is the fact that it is so thoroughly modified that even after treatment it does not shrink or expand in response to temperature fluctuations, and it is highly resistant to the attack by fungi and micro-organisms. Even paint and varnish last three to four times longer on this type of wood product, resulting in big savings on maintenance. Thanks to its dimensional stability, Accoya wood can be edge-laminated, allowing the wide sides of the panels to be exposed which makes for an attractive pattern on the facade. This is the first time that Accoya has been used in this way in the Netherlands. (Hans Ibelings)