A ‘box of blocks’ comprising studios, one and two-bedroom apartments, offices, care apartments and hotel rooms. That is the idea behind Finch Buildings: a modular construction concept that delivers sustainable, carbon-neutral buildings. The wooden modules are engineered, built and installed by our partner De Groot Vroomshoop.
A living building
It’s a familiar sight: an office block or residential building standing empty because it was built in the wrong place. This is the inspiration behind Finch Buildings. With a lifespan of at least 50 years the modules are designed with permanent construction in mind. But thanks to their lightweight and modular design Finch Buildings can also be ‘moved’ to a new location if necessary. The modular concept has also been applied to the individual units, with a smart design that enables almost all the parts to be replaced. This means that an office can be transformed into an apartment. Moreover the design is fully circular: all parts can be reused or recycled.
CO2 in the growth rings
Buildings are responsible for 36% of carbon emissions. “How can we improve on this?”, wondered inventor Jurrian Knijtijzer. The choice for wood was an obvious one: wood emits virtually no CO2 during production, resulting in savings of 28 tonnes per module compared to using other raw materials. In addition each Finch module has 12 tonnes of CO2 stored in its wood, absorbed from the atmosphere while the tree was growing. The buildings are also gas-free, all-electric and extremely energy-efficient.
The first sunrays of the day touch the building site. A crane towers over the site. In its hoists hangs a large rectangular block comprising wooden walls, a balcony and large windows: a Finch Buildings unit. The modules are fully finished in the factory, making the construction process straightforward and superfast. “It’s a matter of stacking them and fitting them together,” says Birol Akkavim, work planner and supervisor with De Groot Vroomshoop. “As a result we can install 10 to 15 units a day.”
Building at the office
“I’m used to the building site being 200 km away from my office. Now it’s just a few metres,” says Adam Duivenvoorden, project leader for Finch Buildings with De Groot Vroomshoop. The Finch modules are finished to the last detail in the operating company’s factory. Once again the modular construction philosophy is in evidence. In order to keep production lean and efficient the subcontractors supply ‘plug and play’ parts – from the floor, walls and roof to the technical space and frames complete with glazing. “All we have to do is assemble the unit,” says Adam. The project leader looks to the future with confidence, with the largest project to date on the horizon: 60 homes in Monnickendam, just north of Amsterdam. An important step for Finch Buildings and its permanent partners such as Loohuis Installatiegroep, De Mors and Biesbos. Adam: “Everyone is investing in Finch with great enthusiasm. We have a truly fantastic team!”