The RAU architectural team, based in Amsterdam, adopts a particular attitude, defined by the term oneplanetarchitecture: RAU designs buildings with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Since 1992, the practice has been working for the public and private sectors, maintaining an approach that is conscious of planet earth and uses integral methodology. RAU is actively involved in the current international discussion on sustainability and in developing energy-saving technology and concepts for energy-producing buildings. In a world where so much nature is threatened by human activity, RAU considers it its mission to make a positive contribution through its presence and its work.
Designs by RAU are characterised by a proficient level of sustainability. Some even set new standards, like the head office of the WWF Netherlands. This former agricultural laboratory was transformed into a CO2-neutral and (almost entirely) self-sufficent office building. Provisional calculations for Le Carré de Soie, a CO2 neutral and energy surplus-producing mixed-use office complex in Lyon (to be completed in 2011) show promising results: LEED Platinum, BREEAM excellent, EPBD A++ and German Passivhaus status.
Among other projects, RAU is currently developing a generic concept for energy-efficient full service stores for an international supermarket chain; a design for a 40.000 m2 college building with a series of public spaces for educational purposes; an energy neutral hotel in a complex urban situation; a highly efficient laboratory on a university campus and self-sufficient mixed-used complexes with offices and housing.
Other projects include residential and tourism developments for unusual locations, from earthquake areas to ecologically sensitive nature reserves. The work has a diverse expressive language, following diverse briefs, similar to each other only in their active engagement towards the context and environment.
Committed to the long-term interests of the planet and its inhabitants, RAU’s buildings feature smart heating, cooling and ventilation systems, advanced integration of structure and mechanical services, the use of human energy as a power resource, hyper-efficient plans, reuse of materials, `bird-friendly roofing tiles' and “bat basements”. Often, high-tech results are achieved using low-tech solutions. Although material quality, structural and mechanical design are considered vital elements for achieving physicality in design, the incorporation of the human factor is what distinguishes RAU’s work.
method of work
Intensive collaboration is a key element in the firm’s relations with its project partners. RAU encourages diversity of input and opinion throughout the design process. With the intention of exploring new ways of synergy between technology and architecture, RAU has developed an integrated design methodology. Both the client, the users and the project team are closely involved, and the physical context of the site and the building itself are strongly united.
more than merely sustainable
Communication with all prospective users is vital, for they really “inhabit” their future building. And in RAU’s view, a sustainable building not only reflects state-of-the-art technology. In fact, these considerations go without saying. It is self-evident that architecture is required to meet increasing demands for sustainability, realising at the same time that other standards, such as budget or aesthetics must not be sacrificed.
RAU's sustainable entrepreneurship stems from a specific attitude towards the world. Working and living in the constant awareness that any action ultimately produces significant effects in the world at large: ecological, economic and social. This way of working creates healthy, energy-producing buildings that adopt a people-oriented approach and enhance awareness of our planet.