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Elements, Amsterdam , Amsterdam

Elements: generative design creates Amsterdam’s iconic façeted timber hybrid high rise

Standing at 70 metres tall, Amsterdam’s new Amstelkwartier district is adding another iconic silhouette to its skyline with the introduction of Elements, the city’s latest hybrid timber residential high rise.

Elements joins a roster of local landmarks like Haut and the QO Hotel, part of the redevelopment of Overamstel from an industrial area to the south east of the city into one of the most sustainable neighborhoods in the Netherlands with a mix of residential solutions, green areas and office space. 

Standing by the river Amstel, the hybrid timber tower has a recognisable façeted outline, as though sculpted by the elements: sun, wind and water. Arup’s parametric design process optimised the building to create its evocative angled shape, turning this exemplar development into a comfortable, energy neutral, neighborhood friendly building.

With a total gross floor area of 14,800 m², the building will house 70 medium-sized rental properties and 74 owner-occupied properties, with commercial facilities on the ground floor, a green roof garden and photovoltaic panels integrated in the building's façade.

Arup is also providing structural engineering, building physics, fire and acoustic services for the Kondor Wessels Vastgoed development, working alongside Koschuch Architects, BOOM Landscape and HVTC amongst others. 

Project Summary

70m- tall hybrid timber tower

14,800m² total surface

> 50% reduction of CO2

To create a sustainable city today and for generations to come, Amsterdam is driving forward climate-neutral developments that will help it reduce CO2 emissions by 95% in 2050. With Elements, the city of Amsterdam continues to show the way forward when it comes to sustainable residential solutions and hybrid timber buildings, with construction due to commence in late 2021.


High rise timber tower in Amsterdam High rise timber tower in Amsterdam
All images courtesy to Beauty and The Bit

Parametric design: embedding sustainability

Arup was appointed by develop Kondor Wessels Vastgoed because of our parametric design expertise, paired with our sustainability-driven vision and multi-disciplinary in-depth domain knowledge.

At the start of the project, the entire team identified and agreed on six key sustainability performance indicators to drive the parametric design process. These indicators embed sustainability at the heart of the design, including at building scale (daylight and sun), at neighborhood scale (wind and green spaces) and at planetary scale (energy and carbon).

We worked closely with Kondor Wessels Vastgoed and Koschuch Architects to generate various shapes that would best match the different performance indicators, creating an informed decision making process that embeds sustainability at the heart of the iconic building silhouette. Both chiselled by the elements, and harnessing their power, the building's distinctive profile offers a different geometry from every angle.

Arup’s ability to provide guidance and connect the traditional design phase of architecture with the modern parametric modelling is the next level in sustainability and consumer experience. Without their contribution and flexibility we would not have come to the first building shaped by the elements. ” Silvie Bruijning Kondor Wessels Vastgoed

Tomorrow’s homes: energy neutral timber hybrids

Incorporating a range of innovative sustainable features, the building is designed to be energy neutral. For instance, the tower’s hybrid timber-steel-concrete construction will help reduce CO2 emissions from the materials used by more than 50%. By introducing flexible duplex apartments, we introduced a structural framework where concrete floors are interspersed with timber floors every six metres. The iconic cantilevers provide ample day- and sunlight in the lower levels while improving the wind conditions on the ground floor.

The ‘transparent’ ground floor is a lively neighborhood space, with facilities for both locals and residents including a bar, a brewery that uses rainwater from the roof to craft its beer, and multifunctional commercial spaces. Further, an indoor pool offers views of the Amstel River and the park, complemented with a winter garden with lounge areas.


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