Architecture

Solar-powered timber tower focuses on flexibility

Solar-powered timber tower foc...
Patch22 was completed last year for a budget of €6.4 million (roughly US$6.85 million)
Patch22 was completed last year for a budget of €6.4 million (roughly US$6.85 million)
View 14 Images
Patch22 was completed last year for a budget of €6.4 million (roughly US$6.85 million)
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Patch22 was completed last year for a budget of €6.4 million (roughly US$6.85 million)
Its name a play on Catch 22, Patch22 comprises a total floorspace of 5,400 sq m (58,125 sq ft)
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Its name a play on Catch 22, Patch22 comprises a total floorspace of 5,400 sq m (58,125 sq ft)
Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap
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Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap
Located in Amsterdam, the 30 m (98 ft) Patch22 is both sustainable and flexible
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Located in Amsterdam, the 30 m (98 ft) Patch22 is both sustainable and flexible
Patch22 features a large electricity-producing solar panel array on the roof
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Patch22 features a large electricity-producing solar panel array on the roof
"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," explains the company
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"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," explains the company
The wooden columns, beams and walls are all left visible in Patch22's apartments and the effect is a warm, inviting building
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The wooden columns, beams and walls are all left visible in Patch22's apartments and the effect is a warm, inviting building
Patch22's units were sold empty and have hollow floors that are easily lifted so that wiring and plumbing can be accessed and altered to suit the layout the owners want
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Patch22's units were sold empty and have hollow floors that are easily lifted so that wiring and plumbing can be accessed and altered to suit the layout the owners want
Patch22, designed by Frantzen et al, is one of the more interesting examples of recent timber architecture
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Patch22, designed by Frantzen et al, is one of the more interesting examples of recent timber architecture
Heating is provided by a furnace in the basement that's piped to underfloor heating and runs from pellets derived from timber waste, though there are also stoves inside some of Patch22's apartments
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Heating is provided by a furnace in the basement that's piped to underfloor heating and runs from pellets derived from timber waste, though there are also stoves inside some of Patch22's apartments
Inside one of Patch22's apartments
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Inside one of Patch22's apartments
Inside one of Patch22's apartments
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Inside one of Patch22's apartments
Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap – so much so that several residents have taken it upon themselves to install their bathtubs out there
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Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap – so much so that several residents have taken it upon themselves to install their bathtubs out there
Architectural drawing of Patch22
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Architectural drawing of Patch22
View gallery - 14 images

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).

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.

Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap – so much so that several residents have taken it upon themselves to install their bathtubs out there
Patch22's balconies sport folding glass sheets, making for something of a sun trap – so much so that several residents have taken it upon themselves to install their 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."

Heating is provided by a furnace in the basement that's piped to underfloor heating and runs from pellets derived from timber waste, though there are also stoves inside some of Patch22's apartments
Heating is provided by a furnace in the basement that's piped to underfloor heating and runs from pellets derived from timber waste, though there are also stoves inside some of Patch22's apartments

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

View gallery - 14 images
1 comment
ljaques
I love wood and feel that it is beautiful. But, as a retired handyman, I also know that it takes considerable maintenance for wood to remain structurally sound; maintenance which is put off by both individuals and corporations. My concern with wooden buildings stems from that. In 10 or fewer years, lack of maintenance will make many these structures unsafe to house humans, I guarantee it. It's human nature to be frugal (cheap!) and to forget or put-off regular maintenance for so long that it requires structural repair. Caveat buildor. I also doubt that the solar panels and rainwater catchbasins will provide more than maybe 20% of each of their respective needs, but every bit helps. Concrete floors sound dangerous for housing.