New build Intratuin, Barneveld (the Netherlands) 2002

Barneveld local council had a desire for the creation of a handsome, iconic building next to the A30 motorway, adjacent to the ‘De Burgt’ district. They expressed little objection if the proposed construction were to be quite high (anything around the twelve meter mark would be acceptable), as this could also fulfil a secondary function as an effective noise barrier.

The local vernacular residential architecture of the ‘De Burgt’ district exudes a distinct thirties’ look and feel, particularly with profusion of semi-detached and detached houses. Design ideas for the Intratuin branch would need to connect with and address this atmosphere. For the architect, this conjured up images of railway stations from the period.

Intratuin Barneveld is the first garden centre in Europe with arched steel trusses. This gives the building the aesthetic and appearance of a Victorian botanical garden. With plenty of daylight, the visitor experiences the building more as a garden. The main building is a combination of a steel structure and greenhouses. The rising symmetrical construction displays strength and character and accommodates a 2,200 m² luxury items retail floor. Intratuin Barneveld is also the first in Europe to have a second level in its garden centre.

The high frequency lighting system is tuned to the amount of sunlight available, meaning the interior lighting is automatically dimmed as sunlight increases. Computers remotely control the opening of windows and the six huge glass panels, while a computerised irrigation system reuses collected rainwater for watering the plants.

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