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Netherlands Institute of Ecology; Netherlands Institute of Ecology;

Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen

Structural engineering for a sustainabile and ecological design

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) studies all aspects of nature. Sustainability and ecology are key themes in the Claus and Kaan design for the institute's new building, which is also piloting a high-temperature ground source heating system.

Arup was responsible for structural engineering, including carrying out a study on the efficiency and sustainability of construction materials.

A concrete skeleton is used as part of the building services concept. The concrete was made as sustainable as possible by using concrete rubble as aggregate and incorporating granulated blast-furnace materials into the mix.

The design avoided load-bearing walls in order to maximise open floor space. Instead, a deep floor with an activated concrete core was chosen for the main building and stability achieved through stairwells and fire compartments.

The site includes offices, laboratories and support facilities such as greenhouses, aviaries, chemical and gas storage, a lake and bicycle parks. The total floor area is 10,000m2.


The project won the Building Award 2013. The jury called the architectural expression 'powerful' and thought that the choices made towards sustainability are innovative. 

NIOO-KNAW has also won the Golden Pyramid Award and the Timber Award.