The new Park 20|20 is located southwest of Amsterdam. A very unique business park is rising slowly but surely between Schiphol, the A4 and Hoofddorp station, a business park where challenges in the sustainability field, specifically Cradle to Cradle®, are met in a creative and innovative way. These three inspired gentlemen can tell you all about it: Coert Zachariasse (director of Delta Development), Owen Zachariasse (Delta Development's innovation & sustainability manager) and Jeroen Grosfeld (architect with N3O Architecten).
Dream versus practice
Coert Zachariasse: ‘In one of our redevelopment projects we were faced with enormous amounts of waste. For this project we got in touch with the American architect William McDonough, who, as one of the founders, introduced us to the Cradle to Cradle method of working. He opened our eyes to the ways you can deal with waste. We were deeply moved by his philosophy. We delved deeper into his ideas and immediately saw the potential. A building is ultimately a large collection of materials, and demolition costs money over time. But if you construct a building in a flexible manner, using better materials, then you actually create residual value in the long run. However, building based on the Cradle to Cradle concept is not an easy task. It is complex. We require our suppliers to be innovative and we encourage them to develop their products further. Let me give you an example: For the Bluewater project in Park 20|20, Mosa developed a click-on system for the ceramic facade. Normally you're stuck with the facade you have. But this click-on system, and the fact that Mosa tiles are produced to be C2C, enable a building to be much more flexible. You can change the facade throughout the years. You can go with the times without making any financial sacrifices. Because of the higher the residual value, the easier it is to make a decision like that. Mosa engages with its clients in thinking about these things. They produce locally, use no toxic materials and operate according to the Cradle to Cradle principle. That makes them perfectly aligned to our philosophy about delivering high quality. In this way, we are capable of enhancing each other's products. Mosa's authentic method of working, also motivates us to continue looking further in a critical way.’
”You could grind up Mosa tiles, dissolve them in water and drink them if you wanted to.”
Owen Zachariasse nods in agreement. ‘Mosa has the same values in how they conduct their business. That makes the work process smoother and leads to a better final product. It requires an investment. You have to keep each other sharp. Be honest about which innovations work and which don't. But isn't that what makes your work fun?!’
Repurposing waste means creating value
Coert Zachariasse: ‘When you apply the Cradle to Cradle concept you aren't just incorporating an additional source of funding, you are getting healthier buildings to boot, because thought has been given to the materials used. This has a direct effect on the well-being of your staff as well. So it goes a lot further than just saving energy! As project developers, we really think about how you can increase staff productivity by constructing buildings the smart way and broadening your horizons. But don't get me wrong: this is not some convenient sales pitch to get people on board our Park 20|20 project. This is a distinctive concept of real substance. In that sense, the financial crisis gave us an extra nudge because we were able to create a better business case for our clients through our philosophy of using and reusing materials and thinking about productivity and the experience of space and health in the work environment. Because an office is more than merely a physical workplace. An office is a place where cohesion and synergy are born. That means that, when you start designing and developing, you have to include how a space is experienced. Maybe you have to build smaller, but build better and in a way that's aimed at achieving that, because your staff is your capital.’ Owen Zachariasse nods in agreement, adding, ‘We do a lot of research. We have discussions with our tenants. That way we always know how much time employees spend on communication, contemplation, concentration, collaboration and creativity even before we start. So we develop spaces based on the time spent in them.’
“It might not be the cheapest solution, but it is the best choice in the long run.”
Quality and innovation
Jeroen Grosfeld adds that, ‘Thinking of previous ideas, in designing Park 20|20 we left nothing untouched and were determined to find solutions that went beyond sustainable building. We wanted to make a difference and were able to formulate a number of feasible options that even now – many years and many developments and experiences later – can still be considered a guiding principle. At that time no buildings had ever been designed with materials that could be reused. There was sustainable building of course, but the philosophy there is just to work with fewer materials and less energy. But sustainability doesn't mean doing more and more with less. That has its limits. You are completely stripping buildings down without thinking of the comfort of the users. For us sustainability means, at the least, that you can take buildings apart and reuse the materials. So we were faced with an enormous challenge, because a building contains thousands of materials so you need to have almost as many subcontractors who are prepared to produce materials that are C2C compliant and cost neutral as well as attractive. Mosa supplies just such a flexible ceramic product. All the tiles we used in the project – both for the interiors and exteriors – have residual value because they're C2C produced and certified, are zero-maintenance (for the Bluewater facade) and, most of all, they look great.’
Business as an engine for positive change
Jeroen Grosfeld: ‘We aren't there yet. We aren't yet capable of creating a 100% C2C building. But we are headed in that direction. It's a constant search for better and smarter products. Park 20|20 is a worldwide pioneer in that regard. It serves as an example. Not only because of the choice of materials and the energy standards that have been se,t but also because it's commercially viable. Hopefully Park 20|20 will persuade others to start working in the same way. Cradle to Cradle is not ‘hype’. It's here to stay. By working with Cradle to Cradle you are generating guaranteed residual value, and everyone benefits from that. You might have to invest more upfront, but it yields so much more in the long term. The sustainable building standards mandated by the government still don't go far enough in that regard. And it takes a lot. You must be able to continually learn (and teach) and to try new things. You have to rethink your whole philosophy about developing and designing. You have to start thinking differently, because you must be able to take buildings apart and reuse the materials. You have to like being a pioneer and to look beyond architecture itself. Because the design of a building is not so much about the building itself, as it is about people's comfort.’
From negative costs to positive revenue
Coert Zachariasse: ‘Sustainability started out as a CSR tagline, but big industries are now starting to be seriously concerned because of extreme price fluctuations and geopolitical reasons. Interest is now being driven by the core business and no longer by marketing.’ Owen Zachariasse: ‘It is no longer reserved for the 'happy few' or for 70s radical types. Sustainability has become an essential part of our society. After the climate summit, you now can definitely see it being picked up by the people in suits and ties. And the Netherlands could be at the forefront of this, as long as you show positive examples. Like Park 20 | 20. It's not perfect, but it is an inspiration and it's there for all to see. We showed that Cradle to Cradle building is possible and that you can make money from it, but also that you can find purpose in it. You can strike a chord with people by sharing more and getting in touch more. Politics can play a role in that, by establishing consistent long-term policies that can be counted on, and by facilitating. But the real movement has to come from the business world: They (the government) can set the rules of the game, but not play it.’
Mosa’s contribution to Park 20|20
For the Bluewater project in Park 20|20 Mosa developed an ingenious and visible click-on system measuring no less than 1200 m2. This system makes it possible to replace the facade at any time. It also provides ventilation and is C2C certified, the same as the tiles. As for the tiles, the Beige & Brown collection was selected for these (60 x 60 cm tiles). This collection is characterised by its artful gradations from beige to brown and from light to intensely dark. Mosa supplied its well-known Terra Maestricht and Global collections for the interiors of Bluewater and other projects in Park 20|20.