Commisioned by the municipality of The Hague, NOHNIK did a research by design project on nature inclusive high rise building. In the next 20 years, the population of the city of The Hague will increase with around 100.000 people. To provide enough houses for these new inhabitants, the city is focusing more and more on high rise solutions within the dense urban fabric. Simultaneously the municipality aims to make the city greener and to provide better habitats for animals and plant species. This ecological investment is intended to increase the liveability of the city for its inhabitants as well. NOHNIK investigated how high rise buildings could be nature inclusive with benefits for people as well as for animals and plants.

Resilient ecosystems in general are based on robustness and connectedness. Therefore, in our vision it is of vital importance that nature inclusive interventions in building projects should be part of an integral approach. This approach is based on eight themes; biodiversity, food production, health, experience, contemplation and energy. These themes symbolise the values that a city dweller can attach to nature (for example; fresh organic food, clean air, health) but also the way in which a city dweller can add values to nature (for example by stimulating biodiversity and creating new habitats for plants and animals).

These themes are translated into different types of ‘green volumes’ (gardens) which are integrated in the design of a high rise building project. Each garden has its own specialism and meaning; varying from food production to sports garden, and from pocket park to urban wilderness. The individual gardens are connected by public routes and paths and a network of water and irrigation structures. Also the facade of the building is a crucial element, offering shade, wind protection and opportunities for collecting rainwater.

With this integral concept, this approach surpasses ‘decorating’ buildings with green and instead makes nature a vital and integrated element in the urban ecosystem of the building. The green volumes offer great opportunities to develop diverse ecosystems for both man (clean air, food, views, etc.) and nature (habitats, connections). Next to that, a nature inclusive approach results in specific financial and social benefits for the urban community in the long term. Examples of this are better social cohesion, reductions of health care costs, reduction of energy consumption, less financial loss due to a reduction of floods from rainwater.

Year: 2018
Type: architecture, climate adaptation
Client: municipality of The Hague (Department of Urban planning) 

Status: research by design project, conceptual design.