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  • Byron Chan

Circular Series: RIBA Stage 7

Nearing the end of ACAN’s Circular Series, we are just one step away from reaching the final session where an additional ‘Stage 8’ is to be unveiled. Before then, we delve into RIBA Stage 7 where speakers Petran van Heel, from Eteck, and Ron Bakker, from PLP Architecture, touch on topics relating to sustainability and circular economy such as building operation, adaptability and user well-being.


Held on the 22nd April 2021, our virtual event 'Circular Series: RIBA Stage 7' is available to watch in full above.

CIRCL - A circular vision

In the first talk, van Heel presented the project CIRCL pavilion in Amsterdam, commissioned by the Dutch banking group ABN AMRO and designed by architect de Architekten Cie. Designed around five key circular business models, the building was conceived as a sustainable and circular design serving as a central meeting hub for events, learning and sharing knowledge around circularity. The project evolved as a collaborative process involving the construction, design and technical teams at the round table to discuss all aspects such as design, operation and maintenance.

To achieve circular design principles, the pavilion was built as a timber structure which could be later disassembled by ensuring all connections were bolted, screwed and pinned together, and avoiding any glues or wet bonding agents. Old glazed partitions were reused as well as unconventional materials like jeans which formed the acoustic lining in the soffit. Ease of access to services was considered by creating exposed soffits to support future maintenance.

Focussing on building use and operation in this session, the CIRCL pavilion contained features applying the idea of ‘product as a service’ and creating adaptable spaces.

Back in RIBA Stage 0 session, the idea of ‘product as service’ was introduced by Boyd when discussing performance procurement where the client or tenant pays for the service rather than the product. In the CIRCL pavilion, the passenger lift was rented from Mitsubichi who charged payment based on each vertical movement instead of the client purchasing the item. By paying for performance, including waiving charges for poor or faulty performance, this could incentivise service providers to supply long-lasting and optimised products that are easier to maintain, repairable and durable.

Adaptable and flexible spaces are equally important to prolonging the building lifespan to meet the future occupation of the building. In the CIRCL, the frame construction allows a degree of adaptability in the building layout for different future use. Some spaces are equipped with moveable partitions and floors so the space can be reconfigured for different functions.

Research on well-being

When PLP Architecture designed the Edge Office in Amsterdam, a strong focus was placed on sustainability, smart technology and well-being in the design. While the first two aspects have been researched in depth, the third and more elusive aspect was how to define and measure good design for well-being.

PLP Labs, the cross-disciplinary research group within PLP Architecture, began their own research using wearable technology to study occupant’s comfort and well-being in a range of work settings. To study the different settings, they measured environmental factors such as daylight, acoustics and temperature. Participants wore sensors measuring heartbeat, stress levels, blood pressure and sleep quality, and were asked to record diaries and sketches to cover the subjective aspects such as emotions and mood. The research group could compare the data to assess the impact of different settings by getting participant to fill in a scorecard for mood and alertness during course of the day for each setting.

This research has several benefits: demonstrating how to measure mental and physical aspects of occupants in assessing well-being, empowering users to influence changes in the built environment using data and test the building performance to gain feedback on well-being.


Speaker bios

Petran van Heel

Teamlead Development at Eteck

After completing the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology (1996) and the Rotterdam School of Management, Petran gained extensive national and international experience on the development, construction and financial side at multi-nationals as Royal BAM Group (1998) and Rabobank Real Estate (2008).

Before starting at Eteck (2021) he worked as a sector banker Real Estate at ABN AMRO bank (2015). One of the projects of special interest was ABN AMRO’s award winning circular pavilion in Amsterdam’s CBD Zuidas, Circl.

Nowadays Petran is heading the team of energy development/investment managers at Eteck Energy. Eteck is a fast growing company and one of the largest developers, owners and operator of collective heating systems (“SCHS”) in the Netherlands. Mid 2017 Infracapital, the infrastructure investment arm of M&G investments, has acquired the majority of the shares because of the sustainable growth potential.

Ron Bakker

Founding Partner PLP Architecture

Ron has contributed award-winning buildings and urban design projects to major world cities and his work is widely recognized for its civic and environmental responsiveness. Ron is excited about the architectural quality of our cities and the role of new technologies in the built environment.

He designed The Edge in Amsterdam and is currently working on a super high rise in China; a Crossrail development in Mayfair; a tall timber tower in a European city; an extension to the WTC in Amsterdam; and a mixed-use project in Kuwait City. Ron’s work is published widely. He is frequently invited to address academic and professional symposia and is involved with various research projects.


Get involved

The ACAN Circular Economy Group is working to push for a radical shift in the construction industry so that all buildings in the UK are designed and built in line with circular economy principles. It is our mission to reimagine current building practices to enable regenerative design at all scales and stages of a project, and for the construction industry to have a positive impact on human and planetary health.

Interested in contributing to the ACAN Circular Economy Group?

Please contact us for details on how to join.

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