In Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the largest floating office building in the world has been completed. Floating Office Rotterdam (FOR) has been designed by architectural firm Powerhouse Company, commissioned by the municipality of Rotterdam, project developer RED Company, and the Global Center on Adaptation. This unique office is an inspiring example of today’s sustainable technological innovations and circular building opportunities, and will be part of a new floating park in the Rijnhaven port of Rotterdam for 5 to 10 years.
On the south-facing side of the pitched roof, solar panels have been added. On the north side, a 900 sqm. Sempergreen green roof has been installed. This green roof doesn’t only consist of Sedum vegetation, but also includes almost 2,000 herb plants with various blooming periods and colours. In addition to making a positive contribution to the city’s biodiversity, the green roof also helps to cool the building’s interior.
With a floor surface of 3,607 sqm, Floating Office Rotterdam is exemplary of building with state-of-the-art sustainability measures. The floating property is 100% circular, mostly consisting of timber and completely dismountable and re-usable. The carbon footprint has been minimized by using a wooden structure instead of other materials.
Architect Nanne de Ru from Powerhouse Company states: “The building is completely energy neutral. The energy it needs to cool and to heat the building is generated by the building itself.” To accomplish this, the floating office makes use of the water in the port to cool, using a water-based heat exchange system. The solar panels on the roof, in combination with the green roof, make the building completely self-sufficient.
FOR has been certified with the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate and has also received the ‘Consciously Building’ certificate.
Green roof offers shelter and cooling
The FOR is a three-story building. Projecting balconies on every floor and the pitched green roof create shade and cool the interior. The plants on the green roof retain less heat than grey roofs because they reflect solar energy as well as using it for evaporation, and thus create a cooler and more comfortable climate on hot summer days. This isn’t only pleasant for the people using the space, but also positively affects the temperature in the city of Rotterdam. Thanks to this cooling function, the green roof also increases the solar panel efficiency. In addition, it creates a sound barrier. Plants absorb ambient sound and create a quieter environment, in- and outside of the building. Finally, the green roof creates a safe haven for birds and insects in the city. Supporting the bee populations and increasing biodiversity are important characteristics of green roofs.
Perfect location for climate institute GCA
One of the organisations that has moved into the FOR is the UN climate institute Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). The GCA is an initiative from various countries as well as the World Bank, and is chaired by former UN-chairman Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, and Kristalina Georgieva (IMF). The institute is looking for solutions worldwide to accelerate our adaptation to climate change, like to the consequences of rising sea levels. The office is thus a reflection of its occupants. The unique floating FOR will experience the tides in the harbour, making it an ideal and inspiring workplace for this think tank.
The municipality of Rotterdam is very proud that the GCA has decided to establish its new headquarters in Rotterdam. Peter Spakman, project leader Rijnhaven port: “For Rotterdam, it’s vital that the international climate centre has settled in our Rijnhaven port. It shows what Rotterdam can accomplish!”
Patrick Verkooijen - CEO Global Center on Adaptation: “Climate change is an issue today, but also in the future. Countries, regions and the private sector will have to adapt to climate change. The floating office is an example of this.”
Design: Architectural firm Powerhouse Company
Construction: FOR Building VOF, a collaboration between Vallei Bouw and Bouwbedrijf Osnabrugge
Green roof installation: MASTUM