Heerhugowaard will have the largest wooden housing project in Europe. The construction of the five residential towers, with 204 apartments and a surface area of 18,700 m2, will start in the spring of 2023. The large-scale wooden structure, which was given the name Woodstone, was designed by Mecanoo architecten and Boparai Associates in close collaboration with Hamlet Design+Build Technology, responsible for the design and realization of the wooden hull, and Pieters Bouwtechniek, Merosch and Arup. The required 7,300 m3 of wood comes from sustainably managed forests in Austria. The initiator of the project is Bouwbedrijf M.J. de Nijs en Zonen B.V. Woodstone will be delivered in mid-2024.
Mecanoo designed two of the five towers within Rudy Uytenhaak's urban plan: a 12-storey tower and a 6-storey tower. The homes vary from 45 m2 to more than 200 m2, which appeals to a broad target group. The wooden plinth is interspersed with transparent glass parts, so that the towers form a natural connection with the landscape, activating the public domain. The spacious entrances open onto the route that crosses the landscape. Balconies playfully jump from floor to floor, with a spacious terrace on the bel-etage, which runs around the all-sided towers. The two-storey crown of the highest tower is stepped back, which provides spacious roof terraces for the most spacious homes in Woodstone and is largely made of wood. The single-layer crown of the lower tower is also largely made of wood.
The concept for the architecture and construction has been developed integrally with Hamlet. This resulted in towers with a wooden hull, core and elevator shaft, in contrast to existing wooden buildings, which usually have a concrete core. To ensure in an early stage the feasibility of a solid wooden construction of 42.5 metres in height, Hamlet designed the wooden CLT (cross laminated timber) hulls parallel to the architectural design process in which the towers were designed from the inside out.
Arne Lijbers, partner Mecanoo: “Woodstone is a sustainable neighbourhood with a high quality of living. The neighbourhood with all-sided towers opens to the station and the centre of Heerhugowaard. The architecture has a strong relationship with the surrounding landscape and the city. The open wooden construction offers a high quality of living and forms a nice contrast with the architecture, in which wood, glass and brick are alternated. Woodstone is highly flexible and adds a timeless quality to the centre of Heerhugowaard.”
Easier to implement
An all-wood core was chosen to counter challenges that the combination of wood and concrete poses, such as differences in tolerances, shrinkage, and temperature properties. It was also decided to build the towers on a concrete substructure.
Hans Lormans, founder of Hamlet: “We design wooden buildings based on the DFMA principle (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly). To achieve a cost-efficient wooden building, one must think about the execution very early in the design. Since the stability of the building could be realized relatively easily with a wooden core, the choice for a complete version in CLT was quickly made.”
According to Mecanoo and Hamlet, this construction method saves a lot of time and costs in the implementation. Moreover, the hull design is based on a scaffold-less construction. This also contributes to the reduction of construction costs. Merosch's sustainability concept as well as Dijk&Co's landscape design, which paid a lot of attention to biodiversity, were an integral part of the design process. The result is a sustainable neighbourhood with a lot of attention for circularity, energy, and climate adaptation.