The Voice of Urban Nature

Almere, The Netherlands

Overtreders W, de Onkruidenier, Joost Emmerik, and Kossmanndejong designed ‘The Voice of Urban Nature’ for the municipalities Almere and Amsterdam. The pavilion, garden, and exhibition are designed as one integrated spatial narrative. The design extends over the entire plot and shows in different ways and all details how people and nature can work together and strengthen each other. The 100% biobased building shows how people can sustainably build with nature, the garden sketches an ideal urban biotope in miniature, drawings by Paul Faassen, and audio encounters with humans and non-humans call for more nature activism among visitors to the pavilion.

The Voice of Urban Nature is built from 100% biobased building materials and composed of a combination of wooden building modules filled with lime hemp and robust constructive columns. We sourced the raw materials as locally as possible in the vicinity of Almere and Amsterdam: the walls are made of hemp-lime from fiber hemp grown in Almere, and the pink color of the walls was obtained from Brabant madder. The wood structure consists of regional wood from trees harvested for the maintenance of nature reserves, and second-hand wood from demolition projects in Amsterdam, Almere, and Zwolle. The black coating of the wood is made from oil flax that grew on the fields around Schiphol. In this way, biobased construction can close local cycles and strengthen both local ecosystems and the regional economy.

After the Expo, the pavilion will be partly relocated in Almere and partly in Amsterdam and reused for fifteen years. At the end of the lifespan of the modular building elements, all parts of the pavilion are biodegradable. The 100% local, biobased & demountable principle has been implemented without concession in all details: from the hemp walls of the pavilion to the black linseed oil coating of Schiphol flax, from the algae lettering to the borrowed foundation of residual material. The result fits into the urban context of Almere and Amsterdam and is thus an inspiring example for builders and self-builders in both cities.

The planting was designed in close collaboration with Joyce Oomen from Blooming Business, who also grew the plants.

Construction by Fiction Factory and Paul Casteleijn.

Photos by Jorn van Eck.