Jannie Landa, Tom van Duuren and Harrie van Helmond
Two years ago, we wrote an article on the start of construction of the Trudotoren on StrijpS in Eindhoven. Stefano Boeri’s design is a variant of the Bosco verticale in Milan, but in this case built within the social housing sphere instead of the overpriced flats in Milan. Client Trudo deserves all the praise for this and soon camera crews will visit the almost finished building. We were allowed to go up the tower together with the green contractor Dupré.
Our earlier article ended with:
In many ways, the Trudotoren is a pilot project. Hopefully, an ecological approach can still lead to more biodiversity. For future projects, it is imperative that clients and their designers consider ecological principles as equally important as aesthetic values. It is not difficult. It’s just a matter of realising that it can be done and then doing it. If that is a paradigm shift, then so be it!
Unfortunately, after our last article, the architect was not in the mood to select the plants, which had not yet been chosen, primarily on the basis of their ecological bio-diverse performance. We had requested this after analysing the tree species selected on the basis of their aesthetic quality, which unfortunately will not bring the biodiversity to StrijpS that would have been possible. Also to the regret of the green contractor, more attention to ecology was not negotiable. Once again, there is a lack of awareness among designers, clients and plan checkers that we need to drastically redesign our living environment for the health of people, animals and the planet itself. It may also partly be a lack of knowledge, of course. Buildings with trees and shrubs on the balconies suggest that they are a means of increasing biodiversity and combating heat stress. It can no longer be denied that they contribute to these factors.
An Implementation Plan for Climate Resilient Strijp S was drawn up for the whole planning area in 2017. It was decided not to set any hard requirements but to steer by the level of ambition, which would make it possible to operate more flexibly. The term ‘bio-diverse’ hardly appears in this plan, only implicitly. It is apparently thought that greening automatically leads to greater biodiversity and ecological quality.
The new torenallee is the green artery of the area; it has turned out fantastically well and on hot days you can see that people stay here in the otherwise very stony and thus overheated surroundings.
But according to that implementation plan, all roofs of existing and new buildings should be greened. So far, that is not the case.
Looking from the top floor, it is striking how many opportunities there still are to go green in Strijp S.
Despite the requirements that are imposed when an environmental permit is issued, we see little or no structural greenery in the new buildings. The residents will have to do that themselves.
Fortunately, there are some nice exceptions: the SpaceS project, the roof gardens on the Anton and Gerard buildings, the moss roof on the Klokgebouw building, the overgrown façades of the railway car park and, from now on, the Trudo tower.
A bird’s nest has already been spotted in one of the trees on the balconies of the Trudotoren. It is important that the young birds have enough insects available immediately. The question is whether the supply on those balconies and in the immediate surroundings is sufficient for them to survive. We will continue to follow how things develop and how the residents get involved with the planting and with the insects, spiders and birds that show up. Although it was not initially the intention, we are now looking at ways in which residents can still play a role in maintenance.
The planting above the so-called Leidingstraat – right next to the forest tower – will be partially replaced to create more experiential value. The original design was by Piet Oudolf. More volume is being sought, with hanging and evergreen planting. But more attention and concrete action for an integral bio-diverse green quality is and remains of great importance for people, plants and animals. It is not just about the picture and not just about heat stress. It does not cost more money, just more attention. Otherwise, the ambition to make this the greenest redevelopment area in Europe can never be achieved
Green roofs in the area of the forest tower
The roof gardens of the transformed factory buildings Anton and Gerard: thanks to a new foundation, a serious substrate layer could be applied to the roof here to enable tree growth. It functions as a favourite hang-out of the users and residents of both buildings, with beautiful views.
Moss mats placed on the roof 12 years ago on the Klokgebouw (former Philips factory of a.o. Philite): have unexpectedly and to our great surprise caught on very well.
The high-quality public transport line runs at Strijp S through a green tunnel of Blue Rain, a beautiful design by West 8.