Sustainability bound up with beauty and quality
TEXT: KARIN VENEMA | PHOTOS © REITSEMA & PARTNERS, RONALD TILLEMAN
At Reitsema & partners architects, they believe that in addition to cradle to cradle design, and the utilisation of reusable materials, there is another solution for sustainability: creating buildings that do not need to be demolished and rebuilt. Lasting buildings mean less transport, less waste and less carbon dioxide emissions.
The architecture firm has underpinned their views with research showing that adaptable buildings are the ones that last. These are the buildings with plenty of freedom in terms of layout, high ceilings and space for installation. “But more importantly — there is something else that these buildings have in common,” smiles Theo Reitsema, architect and founder of Reitsema & partners. “These are the buildings that we love. We preserve the buildings that we are invested in, the ones that we like, that are created with love, with beautiful details and materials, that are unique and have a story. These are the buildings that stand the test of time, that transcend the issues of the day. And these are the buildings we take pride in creating.”
In Borne, Reitsema & partners architects transformed the Sint Theresia church into a modern health centre. Both the buyer and seller wanted the church to regain its social significance for the neighbourhood and community. “During the renovation, we explicitly focused on conserving the existing spatial characteristics,” says Reitsema. “We were able to create a sustainable building by effectively placing a building inside a building. Only the practice rooms have a high-quality climate, while the atrium in the church has an intermediate climate, drastically reducing running costs. Because of the high-quality finishes and details, I am convinced it will still be a desirable let in 20 years’ time.”
Another significant project was the transformation of the VolkerWessels head office in Rijssen. This was a particularly high-end office in the early ‘90s, and the challenge for Reitsema was to make the building high-quality and special again, in terms of both design and installation. The result is a refined, elegant design with a timeless aesthetic, combined with maximum comfort and energy-efficiency. “In addition to offices and repurposing, we also specialise in luxury villas,” explains Reitsema. “Here, we also use high-quality materials and refined details. Our architecture is timeless, because conserving equals sustainability.”