Regenerative Architecture as a Method for Architectural Design

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This paper discusses regenerative architecture as a method for architectural design. Regenerative architecture is a concept of attracting the natural world as a medium and generator of architecture. It reacts to and uses the living and natural structures that exist on a site that forms as the building blocks of architecture. It also focuses on discussion and reducing environmental impacts of a building on communities. Regarding its benefits, regenerative engages architects, professional engineers and clients to offer communities sustainable and environmental-friendly constructions that depend on restorative actions and technology to generate an efficient system.

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Today, the modern society understand sustainability in architecture as an important aspect to be considered for both current and the future of architectural design as it aims for stable and operative constructions. The current standard level of sustainability and efficiency for a building is low due to depreciation and outdated technologies that are utilized for generating contemporary architectural structures. A variety of reviewed literatures that are based on architectural designs and regenerative architecture is discussed with consideration for long-term environmental and socio-cultural benefits to communities. In addition, a case study method based on regenerative architecture is used in support of this research paper; also, professional and reliable resources of information regarding regenerative architecture and its benefits to the environment. The possible outcomes of the research topic will be based on the functioning of a regenerative design and the technologies that are beneficial to operate a regenerative architectural building. These include the implication of passive and active solar heating and the use of recycled materials. This study analyses to what extent do specific ‘‘sustainability design approaches’’ such as regenerative architecture offer long-term environmental as well as socio-cultural benefits to their communities?

Architecture in regenerative refers to aspects beyond a building; it is the place, system, energy, construction and fauna and flora. It is placed exclusively into a site and forms one whole system. The understanding architecture highlights the endless opportunities for regenerative architecture. Regenerative architecture forms when the amount of production from the system is larger than the net input of resources into the system. Architecture is now defined by the production of excessive food, clean water and energy than it consumes with previous diversity of the building before it becomes a part of the structure. For centuries, architecture and the buildings have been the fundamental definition for sustainable development of our society. Many of the cultures suggest that architecture plays an important role in the social, economic and environmental life, but from last century the studies show that the lack of importance for architecture while other forms of consultation, including political, economic, technological and media have more conclusive impact on culture. Today, the challenges for designing a sustainable built environment include, carbon emissions, climate change, human health, water problems, biodiversity, lack of resources, diminution of fossil fuel, population growth and urbanization.

Regenerative design is a biomimicry of society as it does not function as naturally as the water cycle; hence, technologies that strive minimal waste can be adapted into the design. However, this depends on restorative considerations considering sustainability and technology for an efficient system. This means the architecture form, building or structure must be built alongside the actual site, native plants and ecological surroundings. Today, technology has adapted to changes in our environment that will potentially benefit the society. It is important that the construction of the actual site does not damage the surroundings due to native plants, so a regenerative system is formed. For architectural design, passive and active solar heating could be applied with renewable energy production for heating, ventilation and cooling efficiency. In construction, it’s highly important to use recycled and salvaged building materials.

Regenerative structures could produce oxygen and capture CO2 and other things. It is an architecture with the capability of having a positive impact on buildings. The term sustainable means environmentally “friendly” or architecture designed to provoke positive impacts. This term describes any human action that is performed with the concept of the environmental impacts of reduced activity.

In a recent Wired Magazine interview with Tom Vanderbilt, Mitchell Joachim, University of Columbia’s architecture professor and ecological designer, regarding sustainability states, “I don’t like the term. It is not evocative enough. You don’t want your marriage to be sustainable, you want to be evolving, nurturing learning. “Efficacy doesn’t cut it either, it just means “less bad”.

Results from the last 120 years indicate that architectural consultation was influenced particularly by economic and ecological disaster related with industrialization.

Case Study

The City Hall of Venlo is a well-known C2C inspired building. The building has been built according to C2C principles by the Dutch architect Hans Goverde and his design team of Kraaijvanger architects Office in Rotterdam. It was constructed in Venlo, Netherlands by Laudy/Ballast Nedam contractors between 2010 to 2016. The new City Hall was considered as an ideal part of Venlo at a crossing point at the river Meuse. It is designed for its users and residents, place and culture to anticipate the future innovations and continuous developments to next level. This case study will define how the dream of a C2C inspired building has been interpreted into practice, how the process is involved and what benefits it has brought to the building so far.

In 2007, Venlo decided that their City Hall should be built as a tribute to Cradle design for residents and businesses. A healthy and pleasant workplace is built for its employees with the municipality of Venlo to design a building that would provide comfortable and effective working environment with the use of sustainable innovation. The building of Venlo City Hall is an icon at the river of Meuse that proudly alludes to the agriculture and logistic traditions of the City of Venlo. It conveys what the community organization want to accomplish e.g. open, transparent and accessible. The prerequisites comprise of a 3-layer of public parking garage with 400 parking areas and an aggregate office floor space of 13,500m2. The capital expenses are evaluated at 62 million euros, also with the highest conceivable application level of Cradle to Cradle inside the settled spending plan. The outline and acknowledgment of the City Hall is arranged inside 5 years, with acknowledgment in 2015. Venlo City corridor is one of the first and few building improvements inside the Netherlands with characterized Cradle to Cradle desire.

Design Process

The planning procedure of the fundamental outline stage of the Cradle to Cradle theory became a test. The design team chose to prepare through the Cradle to Cradle method. Since it isn’t yet conceivable to understand a 100% Cradle to Cradle construction, emphasizing several aspects is critical. The Venlo City Hall inspired four chosen aspects in which the Cradle to Cradle aspirations are reflected. Henceforth, the coveted outcomes and KPl’s establish the essential prerequisites for roadmaps. A roadmap portrays the advancement of building and chosen components for future developments and changes. The guides contain the milestones and execution indicators of the new City Hall. The characterized C2C-aspirations and roadmaps were inserted in the association of Venlo as an established framework for additional development of the project. The everyday association and the City council consistently concurred with the C2C desire document proposed process.

C2C design elements: One of the coveted outcomes is to upgrade indoor and outdoor air quality of the building. The outline clarified that the indoor air quality is poor, negatively impacting health and productivity and the outdoor air quality around the main road requires improvements. Therefore, the design has integrated elements that provide healthy air quality. Hence, a green house is situated at the last floor of the building as “green lungs”. The greenhouse contains vegetation that cleanses the outdoor air before it enters the whole building. The decontaminated air will enter the individual floors when a piping system within the floors have achieved a room temperature. A void crosses the building center from the top to bottom floor to provide a natural ventilation flow. Above the void is a solar chimney found on the roof, permitting the used air to induce naturally. The void structure allows interaction between departments and encourages the use of stairs. Above the void, is a solar chimney. The solar chimney is heated up by the sun and forms warm air to rise and create a natural air flow. The European studies suggest that the normal indoor air quality in building is poorer then outside. The building’s aim was to improve the outdoor air quality before the indoor air leaves the building through the green wall. The surface of the green wall is 2,200m2 in total and combined with the green roofs, the façade will improve the outdoor air quality in a radius of 500m.

Water cycle is an important contribution to the building design. There are five water streams that are divided into rainwater, drinking water, grey water, black water and residual water from toilet facilities. The green roofs collect rainwater to water the green wall and for toilets. The City council aims to generate more renewable energy for the building. Energy potency is another vital style goal targeting energy consumption 50% less of national necessities with an Energy Label of A+. Therefore, the building is extremely insulated with optimized window-to-wall-ratio and solar protection for the east, west and north facades to condense the heating demand and avoid overheating risks. The roof of the building has u-value of 0.5W/m2K, which is achieved by the flax insulation for most of the building. The underground and the surfaces with contact with water, styrofoam extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation was used for its high thermal resistance and the right compressive strength and insensitivity to moisture. Styrofoam was also utilized in the south façade. The orientation and the opening of the building was designed to benefit the natural light and ventilation, so the energy consumption decreases to a minimum.

Many elements of regenerative architecture practices are incorporated into the building such as produced concrete with recycled content and toxic free materials for constructing the City Hall; then, concrete was not found. The North façade is made of green wall that are modulogreen components while the South façade is made of aluminium. The internal walls and ceilings are cladded with accoya wood material, which is timber (Radiata Pine & Alder) from sustainably managed forests and high-performance materials. Thoma Holz 100 wood is used mainly in the green house and for the internal furniture, containing vertical and horizontal wood elements that are closely layered to create solid and compacted construction elements. These products are durable materials that are constructed without glues and metals. Many materials in the building are recyclable such as metals, timber and glass materials until incineration, especially for Venlo City Hall.


Overall, regenerative architecture generates sustainable and environmental-friendly buildings that are not only beneficial for the society but also the building itself. To design a regenerative architectural building, the building must integrate sustainable materials that provide communities a healthy and pleasant workplace. Many of the cultures suggest that architecture has an important role in social, economic and environmental living, however 20th century studies show the lack of importance for architecture while political, economic, technological and media consultation have more conclusive impact on culture. Sustainable buildings such as the City Hall Venlo have a greenhouse, green roof, solar chimney and hylofilter that are natural wastewater treatment pond using biological and bacteriological purification techniques. The City Hall was designed to provide open and flexible working areas with natural lighting for lobby and office spaces. The materials used for the City Hall of Venlo are recyclable and reusable such as the concrete, which can be crushed and combined with new concrete or timber, glass and steel.

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