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Press release: SAWA wins ARC20

SAWA, the tallest wooden building of the Netherlands, wins the ARC20 Innovation Award.

Jury ARC20: “SAWA represents what the future looks like.”

Last Thursday, during a festive live broadcast from Mediahaven in Amsterdam, the winners of the ARC20Awards were announced. SAWA, designed by Mei architects and planners and developed by Nice Developers and ERA Contour, is unanimously chosen by the jury as the winner of the ARC20 Innovation Award.

On behalf of the jury, architect Marc Koehler explained that the nominees have been selected for their ability to open eyes to a different approach to architecture and design. According to the jury, innovation should not confine to a small step in the right direction. “SAWA sets in motion a radical change,” Koehler said.

From the jury report:
“SAWA is relevant and promising because of the scale of the timber construction. It will be the most innovative, tallest wooden building in the Netherlands. This is a new concept, smart and aesthetic, energy-saving and possibly the tipping point in the timber construction revolution.”

The jury report confirms that SAWA is groundbreaking on several fronts. SAWA initially distinguishes itself in the field of high-rise in CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) by, among other things, carrying out the floor construction without adding concrete. It is a bottom-up development by Nice Developers, ERA Contour and Mei, based on vertical chain integration and with the focus on future residents who participate. SAWA is a low-tech design reducing installations and based on the principles of Open Building, which provides optimal flexibility. The housing program will be a mix of affordable mid-rent and more expensive apartments. There will be various facilities in the plinth of the building, and the deck, that serves as a green connector between the building and the surrounding greenery (such as the existing communal garden), adds value and serves both residents and neighbors.
SAWA is a forerunner in innovation in nature-inclusive design. The way in which the building fosters biodiversity in the neighborhood – through a range of ecological facilities (such as a biodiversity roof, a coordinated green plan for the terraces and 40 animal houses) – is unique in Europe.

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About the ARC awards
ARC Awards is an initiative of “De Architect” in collaboration with partners and has now acquired a permanent place in the Dutch architectural landscape. The ARC Awards highlight the very best work in the categories architecture, urban design, interior, furniture, detail, innovation, young talent, and oeuvre. Independent professional juries in six categories chose the winning projects out of over 350 submissions.

This year, the jury of the ARC20 Innovation Award consists of Marc Koehler (MKA; jury chairman), Antoine van Erp (Matter Makers), Dirk van den Heuvel (TU Delft), Robert van Ieperen (Fakton), and Marianne Lahr (de Architect, secretary).

Collaborating partners
SAWA, commissioned by Nice Developers and TBI-venture ERA Contour, is designed by Mei architects and planners. Over the years, Mei has gained a wealth of experience in the Lloydkwartier, where they designed the Schiecentrale and the Jobsveem, among other buildings. After the monumental Fenix ​​I warehouse, with which Mei recently has won many awards, SAWA is the next promising project of Mei in Rotterdam.
SAWA is developed and designed with an extensive team of experts, including Pieters Bouwtechniek, DERIX, Pirmin Jung, Ralph Hamerlinck, DGMR, Atto Harsta, Piet Vollaard, Bureau Stadsnatuur, and Copijn. De Wijde Blik communication and Kettner Makelaardij are involved in the promotion and sale of the apartments in SAWA.

For the first six apartments, last summer the developers were seeking six pioneers who dared to face the challenge and wished to be assured of an apartment in SAWA, despite the fact that not everything has been decided yet. These six apartments have now been reserved. The next step (the environmental permit application) is scheduled for the end of 2020. It is expected that regular sales will start in spring 2021. The aim is to start construction of SAWA in 2021.