Doing business at WFC
Green, healthy and inspired entrepreneurship at WFC
ROOTS already accommodates 27 businesses.
He has the same confidence in building 4 with its stand-out features, such as its location immediately behind the beautiful Friso barracks and amidst the greenery of the Veluwe. In addition, there is the excellent accessibility of the adjacent Ede-Wageningen railway station and the proximity of the A12 and A30 motorways, as well as the interesting range of established and new businesses on the WFC site. The two buildings of ROOTS Innovation Hub already accommodate 27 businesses whose core activities vary from insects to meat substitutes.
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What’s more, there will also be a show kitchen which will offer very interesting options, explains Van de Pol. ‘The industrial professional kitchen can help businesses to implement product innovations or to train personnel, for example. It could also be used to serve lunches. We can brainstorm on this more with purchasers and tenants of space in the building.’
Wellbeing and labour productivity on the rise
In addition to its meeting function, wellbeing was also a key component of the design. Building 4, for example, will be a wooden building and a pilot for the possible large-scale roll-out on the other sites. Mees continues: ‘That makes this project unique, because although wooden construction is becoming more commonplace, it is still mostly incidental. I think there is the potential here for it to be more than that.’ The natural environment with which the building harmonises so beautifully underlines that potential. Wood also has other important advantages over concrete construction. ‘Concrete production releases a lot of carbon dioxide, while wood absorbs it. In addition wood grows by itself – in Dutch forests alone, around sixty new houses of wood grow every single day. The construction process is also much faster because wood is lighter. That removes a lot of HGV traffic, inconvenience and nitrogen emissions.’
And that’s without even mentioning all of the birds that you can kill with one stone. The indoor climate is also significantly improved, explains Mees. ‘The moisture in a wooden office is different, the acoustics are different and there are no harmful emissions from all manner of solvents that are usually found in artificial building materials. That makes things feel more comfortable, which ultimately boosts productivity.’ As nature is central, some historic wood was also moved, Van de Pol explains. Three sequoias of up to 14 metres high were moved to preserve them and to make construction possible. It took years of preparation before the trees assumed a new home on the WFC site, moved by cranes and heavy equipment. Trees with history. ‘It illustrates how we want to deal with nature. It is part of this unique region and our location within it.’
Mees concludes by expressing his enthusiasm for the design project that extends over several buildings on site C. ‘You often see that with new developments, there is an urgent quest for ideas and identity. Here, that identity already exists in the form of a fascinating combination of greenery, fantastic tall trees and a traditional barracks building.’ The design by MEESVISSER architects wanted to slot in organically. ‘As a little wink, we have reflected the profile of the Friso barracks in the end facades of the smaller buildings facing the barracks. Our designs contain subtle references to the old architecture, but in a more modern guise.’
In other words, there is a unique opportunity in the offing for businesses to do business in a green, healthy and inspired way. Space in building 4 will go on sale and be available for lease in April.
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