‘The European Property Award is a globally renowned award. It’s always great to receive recognition for a project that you and the team and all those externally involved work on with so much love and passion. For us, Wonderwoods is much more than just a building. We are bringing a piece of biodiversity back to the city and reconnecting people with nature. It is our ambition to serve as an example to other cities. – Ivo Taal, Senior Developer bij G&S Vastgoed
After COVID-19, the world will never be the same again. From now on, health comes first. But how do you create offices that are healthy,productive and safe work enviornments.BNP Paribas Real Estate Advisor Estate, design agency MMEK and real estate developer G&S Vastgoed are combining their knowledge in the REDEFINE Real Estate platform. REDEFINE Real Estate is a closed user platform that continues to develop, from which everyone can draw and contribute. The founding fathers have their say.
The establishment of REDEFINE Real Estate started with COVID-19, but the virus was only the cause’. That’s what Alexander Ververgaert, COO of BNP Paribas Real Estate in the Netherlands, says. Together with Martijn Meeske, founder of design agency MMEK, he stood at the foundation of this knowledge platform. Ververgaert: Wellbeing has been part of our office use for some time now, but COVID-19 is forcing us to redefine the concepts of ‘healthy’ and ‘safe’ office maintenance. In the meantime we have seen that social distancing also has an impact on our productivity. Meeske: ‘Social distancing is a good first step towards a healthy and safe environment, but building technology must also be included in this. In addition, well-being in the office is also determined by the extent to which the user experience is influenced. In order to gain as much insight as possible into this, MMEK has conducted scientific research and also consulted with universities. Meeske: ‘We’re not only talking about virus experts and medical disciplines, but also about psychology, for example. We want to see questions like ‘what does green do with people? It turns out that many people are already working on this health theme, but there is a lack of combination of knowledge. With REDEFINE Real Estate we do this and follow a more holistic approach.
The world after COVID-19
For BNP Paribas Real Estate, MMEK and G&S Vastgoed it is clear that there will be a world before and a world after COVID-19. Jason Blackmore, Managing Director of G&S Vastgoed: ‘Employees are facing the facts, and will demand a safe working environment from their empoyer, this will continue after COVID-19. But in many office buildings this is not the case yet. In addition, the existing office environments do not provide the opportunity to work together in a productive way. This is a lesson COVID-19 has thaught us, now we have to to something with it. Therefore G&S Vastgoed is launching customer of REDEFINE Real Estate Where advice of the knowledge platform is applied in the offices of Wonderwoods,, the multifunctional, green towers that are being developed at Utrecht Central Station. When REDEFINE Real Estate Crossed our path, the Wonderwoods drawings were actually finished. However we went back to the drawing board to modify them,’ says developer Mischa Moritz of G&S Vastgoed. For instance, we have changed elevators, routing and interfaces.
Don’t these kinds of adjustments make buildings priceless? Blackmore: ‘I think that from now on office users will always opt for the healthiest building. Companies that compete to attract employees will have to anticipate this. That will indeed require extra investment. However, these extra investments also mean that more people can work on fewer square meters, which means that less space is needed’. Sicco Posthumus, CEO BNP Paribas Netherlands, adds: ‘A building can easily stand for 50 years. But the installations in it age within 15 years, making the building less usable and decreasing in value. If we can make the installation spaces more flexible, making the building usable for much longer, then the initial investments can be easily recouped’. Posthumus continues: ‘ Most importantly, an employee who feels comfortable is much more productive. And that’s the most important driver of a company’s profits’.
This brings the story back to the keyword of REDEFINE Real Estate, the user. Erik van Kuijk, co-founder of MMEK, goes deeper into this: ‘Every user is different and will fill spaces differently because he uses them differently, partly depending on the (company) culture. This means that the design must be adaptable per user, flexible. REDEFINE Real Estate is therefore not a fixed list that is ticked off’. Van Kuijk emphasizes: ‘If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this COVID-19 crisis, it’s that behaviour that stems from our culture is extremely difficult to change. A meter and a half distance just doesn’t suit us. But we know that if you bury it in a spatial design, the problem of ‘misuse’ of a space can be reduced.
REFINITE REAL ESTATE:
KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM FOR HEALTHY REAL ESTATE
REDEFINE Real Estate is a knowledge platform. The platform was founded by real estate consultant BNP Paribas Real Estate , design agency MMEK and real estate developer G&S Vastgoed. G&S Vastgoed is the Utrecht-based multi-functional project Wonderwoods launching customer where the advice of the knowledge platform is applied. The founding fathers are now in talks with internationally operating engineering firm Arcadis to broaden the knowledge platform even further. REDEFINE Real Estate is not an institute that issues certifications. The long-term goal of creating healthy, productive and safe buildings is paramount. The way in which that goal is achieved is flexible: after all, users are all different, techniques are getting better and knowledge is constantly increasing.
REDEFINE Real Estate is a closed user platfrom in which complementary companies with a proved track record contribute by making use of knowledge and expertise in the field of healthy, safe and productive work enviornments.
Want to know more about REDEFINE? Please click here
a.s.r. real estate has been investing in real estate for more than 125 years, and manages investments for institutional investors.
On behalf of the ASR Dutch Core Residential Fund, a.s.r. real estate has purchased 252 homes, a gym and a restaurant in Wonderwoods.
The ASR Dutch Mobility Office Fund acquired the14,000 sqm of office space, Nowhere, the facilities on the ground floor, and the underground parking garage.
In October 2016, the municipality of Utrecht announced its ambitions for the ‘Healthy Urban Quarter’. A tender in which green, sustainable, liveable and health were the core themes. Wonderwoods showed the municipality of Utrecht that it had understood the ambitions in the field of healthy urban living for everyone. The municipality of Utrecht and CU2030 join forces with Wonderwoods and other partners for a sustainable and green future of the Beurskwartier in the centre of Utrecht.
Italian architect Stefano Boeri (1956) is renowned worldwide for his ‘Bosco Verticale’ (Vertical Forest) trend. Today, his Milan-based studio Stefano Boeri Architetti – with offices in Shanghai and Tirana – dedicates itself to the research and practice of architecture and urbanism with focus on regenarative development and urban forestry.
Development consortium Wonderwoods Development consists of G&S Vastgoed and KondorWessels Projecten. Our extensive track record in inner-city real estate developments, leisure projects, exploitation and financing of (commercial) real estate and, among other things, VolkerWessels as shareholder make the development consortium a reliable, experienced and solid cooperation partner.
Roberto Meyer is founder and principal architect of the award-winning MVSA Architects. The international architecture and design firm – with offices in the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland – is fuelled by its mission to create architectural solutions that enhance wellbeing.
Wonderwoods aims to inspire and not just with architecture. Wonderwoods is more than just a building. We want everybody to learn about the wonders of our woods whether you’re young or old. Wonderwoods has something for everybody.
We would like you to know how we grow and introduce you to some of our feathered friends in a fun and playful way because we believe that playing frees the mind and breeds happiness. Therefore, we have created our own Vertical Forest Hub and our own kids book called ‘Woody’s avontuur’ (in Dutch) and The Adventures of Woody the Nuthatch in English. Woody is our cute little mascot. Long ago, many birds left the city after countless trees were chopped down to make way for homes and offices. But soon, they’ll be flying back into the city- to Wonderwoods.
During this year’s children’s book week we had the mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen read The Adventures of Woody the Nuthatch to the children of public school ‘De Koekoek’ in Utrecht. A great and inspiring day of which we hope more will come.
With these kind of initiatives we want to spark children’s imagination and stimulate curiosity because not everything needs to be digitally right?
Want to get your hands on a copy of this children’s book? Keep an eye on our social media channels. Every now and then, we will announce when a limited number of copies will become available at the Stadskantoor Utrecht.
Utrecht: a city that stands for healthy urban living for everyone. A city of wholesome inhabitants in a healthy living environment, working on a healthy economy. Where everyone can participate, and everyone can feel at home.
In October 2016, the City of Utrecht announced its ambitions for the ‘Healthy Urban Quarter’ at the Expo Real in Munich. A tender in which sustainability, liveability, green space and health were the core values.
By joining forces with architects such as Stefano Boeri from his ‘Bosco Verticale’ in Milan, MVSA Architects and Koninklijke Ginkel Groep, Wonderwoods showed the municipality of Utrecht that they had understood the ambitions for the ‘Healthy Urban Quarter’. Green, liveable, healthy and sustainable.
“The idea of building a tower completely surrounded by trees came to me in 2007 in Dubai when I was following the frantic construction of a city in the desert consisting of dozens of new towers and skyscrapers. All were clad in glass or ceramic or metal. Thus, they reflected the sunlight and acted as heat generators in the air but especially on the ground: the area inhabited by pedestrians. I later learnt that 94% of tall buildings in the world built after 2000 are covered in glass, creating increasingly artificial cities.”
— Stefano Boeri (Stefano Boeri Architetti), Architect
At the end of 2017, the Wonderwoods Development consortium consisting of G&S Vastgoed and KondorWessels Projecten won the Wonderwoods tender. Utrecht: a city that dares to counteract the rapid nature-less urbanization. A city that invests in new architecture, so-called “living buildings”. But above all a progressive and innovative city that, together with the arrival of Wonderwoods, supports a healthy and urban ecosystem.
The coronavirus lockdown has hit those people who live in apartments hard. Especially in the centre of the city the best many can often hope for is a balcony. A balcony can easily transforms an apartment from a cage into a royal box with the simple gesture of opening a double door for example. In Wonderwoods every apartment has its own lush sky garden; that’s how we like to call our balconies. Not only is the primary benefit of a balcony the extra space you will have but you can also enjoy the great outdoors at your leisure.
A balcony is a great place to have some outdoor furniture and host guests for gatherings; whether it is just a catch-up, drinks or a dinner party. Research has shown that spending time outside can benefit your immune system, improve eyesight, reduce stress and enhance creativity! What better reasons to embrace the outdoors?
Although you will be surrounded by lush greenery all day adding potted plants you can even brighten up and add a dash of colour to your life and won’t even take up a lot of space!
We believe a balcony connects people to the outside world. The interior with the exterior making you feel right at home and in touch with nature, the vital source of our well-being. A balcony; your little haven and (perhaps escape) from the world if you feel like it.