First circular residential building in Venlo with sustainable vertical greenery
- MobiPanel living wall
- Location: Venlo, The Netherlands
On the skyline of the Maaswaard neighborhood in Venlo (The Netherlands), one stunning building immediately stands out. This complex of 95 self-contained apartments is the city’s first circular residential building. The green facade has been planted with seven different species of greenery across an area of 97 m2, using Mobilane’s patented MobiPanel system.
Rotterdam-based Kraaijvanger Architects designed the complex in partnership with developers B-Right Urbanliving and Janssen de Jong, and construction contractors Janssen de Jong bouw zuid. Back in 2020, the local authority published its ambitions for sustainability. Kraaijvanger Architects translated this vision into a design, with the end result being this circular residential building with vertical greenery.
MobiPanel makes nature-inclusive construction possible
MobiPanel has been developed with one goal in mind: to make future-proof and sustainable construction even more accessible. The living wall system was developed with circularity in mind, and all components can easily be disassembled, reassembled, and recycled as a result. Mobilane’s plant cassettes feature two spacious slots for plants of various sizes. As such, the MobiPanel living wall system lends itself to a wide range of plants. Water is absorbed from the internal water buffer via a capillary microfiber cloth. An automated irrigation and drainage system keeps the water supplied to the green facade in perfect balance, guaranteeing efficient water consumption.
Responding to the smaller household trend
Tommi Helgason, planning coordinator at Janssen de Jong Bouw Zuid, comments: “The building is adjacent to Venlo town hall, which is a circular building with green walls taking up a significant portion of the facade. The architect used green walls in this project to integrate the residential building with the town hall design. Everyone is very happy with the result; it looks great!”
The new apartment block was built directly adjacent to the town hall. The building is a circular cousin to the original cradle-to-cradle administrative building, but tweaked for residential use, resulting in a comfortable and ambitious biophilic design project. The complex has been designed to accommodate 80 two-room apartments and 15 studios. This decision was made in an effort to cater to the ever-growing demand for housing for single and two-person households in Venlo.
To seamlessly integrate the new building with the existing town hall, the complex was built using wood, aluminum, and concrete (some of which was recycled). Like the town hall, the residential building also features green facades. These add a touch of nature to parts of the complex and provide a new habitat for birds, insects, and other species. The seven different plant species — including Campanula poscharskyana “Stella”, Bergenia “Bressingham White”, and Geranium “Rozanne” — combine to produce a fantastic sea of purple flowers during the flowering season.
Green facade boosts air quality
“Like the town hall, the residential building has its own striking green facade,” says Hashmat Fagirzada, project manager and designer at Kraaijvanger Architects. “The primary purpose of this green facade is to enhance air quality in Venlo. The plants used in the facade were specially selected for the positive impact they have on the air. They convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen, filter out fine particulate matter, and absorb nitrogen oxide and ozone. The vertical greenery also naturally insulates the building against heat, cold, and noise. It boosts biodiversity, as the plants on the apartment building have been chosen to complement the greenery at street level. This helps to boost nature on many different levels. The plants also improve the humidity level in the air inside the building.”
For residents at the building, the impact of these sustainable design decisions is not just environmental; social sustainability is also central to the concept. The shared green spaces, such as the internal courtyard garden, the laundry room, and the meeting space, encourage residents to interact with one another — a major benefit for smaller households.