menu close

Five years of the Green House: ‘Visitors sometimes think: How did we end up here?’

Lucas van der Wee | cepezed

It used to be windows of the Knoopkazerne, now it is the facade of the Green House. Five years ago, cepezed transformed the former Knoopkazerne in Utrecht into Rijkskantoor de Knoop. Remaining material was used to build The Green House; a circular hospitality pavilion with a restaurant, meeting rooms and an urban farm of 80 m². The entire building is demountable and will be taken apart again in 10 years' time. For now, The Green House is still running at full capacity.

After this period we are curious, how does the user experience the building? For this, we spoke to Rogier, who has been working at the Green House since its opening.

What do you think of your workplace, how do you experience the space?
“It is very nice, everyday is a joy. The Atmosphere is very nice and light. The green wall provides clean air and natural air conditioning. In summer, it can still be hot some times, of it is a kind of greenhouse. Fortunately, that does remain limited.”

What is your approach to circularity now?
“What do we still have and what can we use it for. If we do then need something, we look for second-hand stuff.” They started from this starting point; the pavilion itself was even created from leftover material. So they are still pursuing the search for a new use for stuff. They are also working on new additions to the concept: “For example, we have placed more herbs in the restaurant section. This enriches the experience of the restaurant visit, as it also contributes to a bit of awareness.”

In the Dutch construction world, The Green House is often referred to as an example of circularity and sustainability in construction. How noticeable is this for you guys?
“People then come and take a look, walk around and have a cup of coffee to 'really' experience the building as well. Then we can then inspire people with the menu, where there is a story behind every menu.” They get many requests for tours, according to Rogier, and people regularly drop in to see the building. Many visitors come specifically for the circular concept, companies wanting to know more about sustainability, for example. “Because of our central location, we often have people looking for a burger or a satay. They sometimes think 'where did we end up?' Then we tell them what we do have and usually they do get curious about the story behind it.“

The building is temporary and will be dismantled in 10 years. Are there any plans for the future?
It remains to be seen what exactly will take its place, nor is it yet clear where the restaurant will be in 10 years. “But the concept is not attached to the place.” Says Rogier. “In fact, it might be good to switch places, so you can inspire people with our circular concept in a different environment again.”

Want to know more about The Green House? Take a look at The Green House.

Lucas van der Wee | cepezed
Lucas van der Wee | cepezed