Circular Experience

In the heart of Amsterdams financial district ABN Amro is constructing a new building. The addition to their existing headquarters is called the Circular Pavilion. The circular construction paradigm stipulates that materials are applied as efficiently and effectively possible while waste materials are either reused or recycled.
RAP proposed a design for the pavilion’s interior walls and balustrades where wooden strips, waste material from the production process of laminated frames, are reused in a parametrically controlled, robotic fabrication process.


The design consist of two parts: a balustrade and a curved wall segment. Both are made up of tens of thousands of unique wooden elements in both pine and larch. In the balustrade design, the positioning and orientation of these elements is controlled by two parameters: the step-size of the staircase and the proximity of the handrail. The aggregate structure closes itself like a zipper near the handrail in the middle to allow easy use for visitors but opens up towards the ends where the functional limitations no longer apply. This gradient is emphasized by the gradual change in wood type: the bottom and top contain large amounts of red larch while the middle is more yellow because of the application of pine.
The wall follows the same design and production logic. The opening and closing pattern of the wall are a continuation of the balustrade.


The entire design and assembly process is developed and executed at RAPs robot workshop. Thousands of meters of wooden strips are collected, dried, planed and shipped to Rotterdam. There, a ABB industrial robot on a track follows the routine of picking up wood, drilling holes, shortening and adding dowels before positioning it at the right point.
Because of this unique design and automated fabrication process more than ten thousand unique pieces of larch and pine and thirty thousand dowels are brought together to make up fifteen meters of expressive interior architecture.

Status:        Work in Progress
Year:           2016
Client:        ABN-amro
Location:   Amsterdam