Tall timber construction is on the rise, but if you're not yet convinced it's a good idea, then perhaps Patch22, designed by Frantzen et al architecten, may change your mind. Located in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the wooden high rise ticks all the right boxes: inviting, sustainable and above all flexible, it allows residents to enjoy whatever layout they want – even to the point of putting their bathtubs on the balconies.

Its name a play on Catch 22, Patch22 rises to a height of 30 m (98 ft), making it the tallest wooden apartment building in the Netherlands. It comprises a total floorspace of 5,400 sq m (58,125 sq ft).

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The residential units were sold empty and have hollow floors that are easily lifted so that wiring and plumbing can be accessed and changed to suit the layout that the owners want. In addition, due to a deal the developers made with the planners, the residential building can be used as an office building in the future if this becomes advantageous.

Patch22's south-facing loggia balconies sport folding glass sheets to turn the spaces into a winter garden, making them something of a sun trap – so much so that several outgoing types have taken it upon themselves to install bathtubs out there.

The high-rise features a solar panel array on the roof which produces electricity, sending any excess juice back to the grid (and, presumably, drawing from the grid too if the solar power falls short).

A rainwater collection system feeds the toilets and underfloor heating is fed by a furnace in the basement that runs from pellets derived from timber waste. However, there are also stoves inside some of Patch22's apartments.

You still can't really talk about a wooden high rise without the question of fire coming up, but it's far from a tinder box.

"Fire regulations were met with by simply enlarging all the wood dimensions," explains the company in a press release. "In case of fire the outer layer of wood can burn up and will protect the structurally necessary wood by charring for up to 120 minutes. It is the first apartment building in the Netherlands to use this approach and therefore to make it possible to experience the atmospheric qualities of wood in a high-rise building."

Treehugger's Lloyd Alter also reports that Patch22 features a concrete floor system that was implemented due to cost concerns.

Patch22 was completed last year for €6.4 million (roughly US$6.85 million). Frantzen et al architecten has teamed up with H20 installation consultancy & building management, which also worked on this project, to build a similar building nearby. Dubbed Top-Up, this new building is due to break ground in June of this year.

Source: Frantzen et al architecten

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