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Menno Rubbens: ‘Building for eternity is out of date’

The Netherlands is facing an enormous building challenge, but at the same time there is a lot of unused property. Many properties are unsaleable or untenantable because they are outdated. We have to let go of the classic idea of real estate, that you establish something for eternity,” argues Menno Rubbens, director of cepezedprojects in the FD. Flexible, circular buildings are the future.

more flexibility
“Functions of buildings change continuously, especially in these times. A court of law may very well become a school one day, and an office an apartment complex. Corona also forces us to be more flexible,” says Menno Rubbens in Het Financieele Dagblad. “At cepezed, we do not see the uncertainty that the future brings as an enemy, but rather embrace it.”

less emptiness
According to him, this requires a different mindset about building. Starting with the acceptance that most real estate does not have a self-evident eternal value. This also provides new opportunities. “Buildings that can be changed or even moved can be given a second, third or even fourth life. That also makes it an attractive investment. There is so much less chance of empty buildings.”

cepezed thought
With his company cepezedprojects, Rubbens therefore likes to develop with designs of the architectural firm cepezed, because the design has already reflected better on the end product. This starts, for example, with the use of high-quality materials and prefabrication in a factory under controlled conditions in order to pursue the highest possible quality. The advantage of this is that materials can be assembled quickly on the building site and are often also easy to disassemble. This prevents many emissions of noise and harmful substances during the process. The Green House in Utrecht, Bouwdeel D(emontabel) in Delft and the Temporary Court Amsterdam are examples of a development, design and implementation process that propagates the cepezed idea.

The Temporary Court Amsterdam has been developed as a permanent building that is temporarily a court. Due to its design, it can easily change function and even location. Experts call this the ultimate example of circular and detachable construction. Currently, the building is being dismantled and moved to Enschede. There, the building will be reassembled with the existing components.

circular different than recycling
This form of circular construction is different than recycling. “With recycling, you go from a high-quality product back to the raw material, and then make something new out of it. But this is much more efficient. Building elements that you dismantle can be used immediately and at the same level for new constructions,” says Menno Rubbens, who was called Circular Hero 2022 during the Week of the Circular Economy. An award by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Waterways, MVO Nederland, Het Groene Brein, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland.

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lucas van der wee | cepezed
Lucas van der wee | cepezed
lucas van der wee | cepezed