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People's Pavilion; People's Pavilion;

People's Pavilion, Eindhoven

Circular pavilion borrows from - and returns - materials to local suppliers

The temporary People's Pavilion, the centrepiece of the 2017 Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, was a bold experiment in sustainability and material reuse that has forced the property industry to re-imagine a circular economy-inspired future.  

With a close to zero carbon footprint, the structure was made from entirely borrowed materials. The pavilion is a design statement of the circular economy, a 100% circular building where no building materials are lost in construction and decommissioning. The People‚Äôs Pavilion also served as the central meeting place for the week-long event, holding up to 600 people for a variety of talks, plays and discussions. 

Working closely with architects Bureau SLA and Overtreders W, we provided structural design for this iconic project. 

A true circular design enables the reuse of the materials at their highest level after functional life. Designed with easily reversible connections without the need for nails or glue, the pavilion was formed from standard wooden beams, strapped together with steel strips normally used to bind pallets.

Engineering a truly circular structure

The seven-metre-tall columns were made of prefab concrete foundation piles, with steel rods from a demolished office building reused as cross bracing.  

The composite timber beams, concrete columns and cross bracing were tied together using high-capacity ratchet straps to create a safe and sufficiently reliable structure to withstand strong wind conditions. This unconventional system required our calculations to be validated, which was carried out through executing several experiments in cooperation with the Technical University Eindhoven. 

The glass roof was borrowed from a greenhouse supplier, while the glass lower façade was saved from a demolished office building. The lighting, heating, bar and other interior elements of the People's Pavilion are also borrowed.

Recycled plastic as a construction material

Over nine thousand vibrantly coloured interlocking plastic tiles served as striking shingles around the top of the building, recycled from PET bottles donated by local Eindhoven residents. By sorting the plastic waste by colour, a range of different tiles could be produced, from pastels shades of pink and blue, to a vibrant yellow hue. This use of recycled plastic underlines the market potential of circular construction as a sustainable alternative. 

Returning borrowed materials

As an exercise in circularity, all borrowed materials used in the construction of the People’s Pavilion were returned once it had been dismantled. Many items were reused in further construction projects, preserving another key circular economy principle to ensure the materials are kept in use at their value across the construction supply chain. 

Find out more about our work in the circular economy

Watch: This video illustrates the concept of the structural design of the People's Pavilion of Dutch Design Week and how it is built. A simple simulation shows how the structure keeps stable in for example strong wind conditions. ©Arup
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Frame Award 2017 

Dutch Design Award 2018 

Hans Sauer Award 2020 

Detail Prize 2020