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The Natural Pavilion

In The Natural Pavilion, ABT and a consortium of nearly 20 Dutch companies have shown that it is possible to build fully circular, bio-based, energy-neutral houses, schools and offices on an industrial scale and in close connection with nature.
The Natural Pavilion
Client Floriade Expo
Completion time 2021-2022

Accumulation of innovations

95% of the pavilion is composed of bio-based materials and is literally an accumulation of innovations. The pavilion shows the possibilities of using greenness in the living and working environment (even in stacked buildings up to 80 metres high), new forms of rainwater harvesting, sustainable foundation solutions, optimal use of natural daylight, natural ventilation and minimal energy consumption. The design shows integration of architecture, structures, building physics and sustainability aspects by using new (digital) design techniques and in an unprecedented way of cooperation in construction. It took less than one year to design and build the pavillion. The combination of the modular HoutKern Construction Method, industrialized construction process and bio-based materialization makes The Natural Pavilion the epitome of circular construction.



The Natural Pavilion and the HoutKern Construction Method were developed together with the Noordereng Group. Low environmental impact, modular, circular and low nitrogen are key concepts of projects developed by Noordereng Group. Oosterhoff is part of the HoutKern consortium and, together with subsidiaries ABT, Lüning, HE Adviseurs and Huygen, made an important contribution to the concept with structural, acoustic and building physics advice as well as fire protection recommendations. DP6 is the architect in the consortium.

HoutKern Construction Method

From the start, Project manager of structures Diana de Krom was involved in the development of the HoutKern Construction Method. The circular concept makes it possible to build wooden homes quickly and sustainably. She says: “The module originated within the Energy Hotel project. Given its future location near a Natura 2000 area, nitrogen emissions had to be limited. Light and modular construction are the main keys to reducing nitrogen emissions on site. In addition, the team wanted a low environmental impact buiding. This is how the concept of modules made of wood, the building material with the lowest environmental impact, was born.”

HoutKern Bouwmethode
De slimme knoop die zorgt voor schakeling van houten modules.


However, the Covid19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works. The hotel industry was hit hard; there were no investors for the project. Then Noordereng Group looked into the feasibilities of long-stay apartments and housing. Diana says: “In the design process, we managed all GPR aspects: energy, environment, health, use quality and future value. We deviated from standard solutions and were constantly stimulated to think outside the box. We spent our days developing our ideas. This resulted in score higher than 8 on all five parts of the GPR.”

Sustainable foundation solutions

As well as the pavilion itself, its foundation had to be as sustainable as possible. We used wooden piles and reusable coupling modules. We were able to use wooden piles because the pavilion is fairly light. To prevent the piles from rotting, we conducted a trial of durable concrete upright extensions on the piles. These extensions consist of 95% circular raw materials. We also did an instructive test with upright extensions made of recycled plastic. The reusable coupling modules are to replace a concrete foundation. These modules can be used over and over again when the pavilion is transferred to a new location.

Growing Green Cities

During six months that Floriade was open, more than 500,000 visitors visited the pavilion. Municipalities, provinces, architects, developers, arable farmers, urban planners, ministries, nature organizations, transition managers, landscape architects, banks, investors … just about the whole (construction) world visited the pavilion to be inspired and learn about green solutions such as bio-based building, smart water buffering, sustainable foundations and parametric design.

© 2022 The Natural Pavilion, Floriade, DP6 architecten

The Natural Pavilion proves that circular building is not a distant future but that it is possible to build “Paris-proof” tomorrow. All parties involved have the ambition to continue the knowledge and connection of the Floriade theme ‘Growing Green Cities’. Continuous knowledge development is important to realize the major transition tasks we face in the Netherlands. After Floriade, The Natural Pavilion will get a second life elsewhere.

Together with the Housing Studio we produced a booklet about The Natural Pavilion. Read more about all the innovations applied in the pavilion.

Innovations of The Natural Pavilion


With eight nominations for (inter)national architecture awards, The Natural Pavilion proves that construction and architecture contribute to solving today’s major world problems. The pavilion won the following awards: Dezeen award (public vote in sustainable building category) and GOLD AWARD.

Images: © Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee