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Start of timber construction SAWA proudly inaugurated by Alderman Zeegers

The first wooden sections of the circular timber construction project SAWA in Rotterdam have been officially installed! On Monday, March 4, Alderman Chantal Zeegers of Climate, Construction and Housing gave the official starting signal at SAWA for timber construction by hoisting the first wooden beam onto the columns. She did so together with the developers of the new construction project NICE Developers and TBI company ERA Contour. Mei architects and planners, timber partner Derix and real estate investor Focus on Impact also celebrated the start of timber construction. A special moment, because SAWA will be the first circular wooden residential building over 50 meters high in Rotterdam. And thus an icon, which will soon not only conquer a place in the skyline of Rotterdam, but also raises the bar for sustainability and biodiversity in urban developments.

Meeting and biodiversity

SAWA will be the first wooden residential building over 50 meters high in Rotterdam. The residential building enriches Rotterdam with 109 apartments, of which 50 are medium rental apartments, 20 are free sector rental apartments and 39 are owner-occupied apartments. This mix of owner-occupied and rental housing makes living in SAWA accessible and affordable for all income groups. In addition to the housing stock, the emphasis is on community facilities to encourage encounters between residents and neighbors, which contributes to the formation of a vibrant community and the prevention of loneliness. Places in the building for meeting and connection favor local initiatives and serve the entire neighborhood. The same goes for the hospitality and social facilities in the building’s plinth. The focus on greenery and biodiversity within the project is unparalleled. For example, SAWA will feature 140 nesting boxes for birds and bats and no less than 600 linear meters of perennial planters with over 20 carefully selected species of plants in the facades and on the deck of SAWA. In doing so, SAWA connects to the existing ecological structures in the city to contribute to an increase in biodiversity. Especially in the urban and largely stony environment of the Lloydkwartier, SAWA thus adds value to the entire neighborhood.

“As alderman of Rotterdam, I am proud of the SAWA project – a jewel on the Lloyd Pier that breathes sustainability. This project is a gamechanger: it contributes to CO2-reduction, uses safe, quick-to-build, sustainable and reusable wood, and sets a new standard for urban development SAWA is proof that we can build sustainably, beautifully and inclusively in Rotterdam.”

Chantal Zeegers
Alderman for Climate, Building and Housing
From left to right: Ilse Staals (Focus on Impact), Mark Compeer (NICE Developers), Lisette Groen (Municipality of Rotterdam), Frans Staals (Focus on Impact), Chantal Zeegers (Municipality of Rotterdam), Jeroen Heijdra (ERA Contour), Robert Winkel (Nice Developers + Mei architects and planners), Freek Boeijen (Focus on Impact), Bianca Seekles (TBI).

Reducing CO2-emissions

Exceptional to SAWA, the building is constructed entirely in CLT (cross laminated timber) and Glulam (laminated wood). The use of concrete is kept to a minimum. An innovation in construction, since in almost all tall timber construction projects concrete is poured on the floors. Dry ballast is used on the CLT floors in SAWA instead of concrete, making the building fully demountable and therefore circular. Due to the large amount of wood used, SAWA saves nearly 5,000 tons of CO2 thus contributing to (inter)national climate goals to reduce CO2-emissions. In the process, the wood provides a comfortable and healthy living environment for future residents.

“With SAWA, we are proving that wood construction on this scale is not a utopia, but a reality we are creating together. This moment marks not only a milestone in construction, but also a crucial step toward a future in which we can achieve CO2 store rather than emit. SAWA is not just a building; it is a symbol of change and the power of collaboration for a more sustainable world.”

Mark Compeer Nice Developers
Mark Compeer
Developer and co-founder of NICE developers

“We are excited to see SAWA come to life with the onset of wood construction. This project represents not only our commitment to innovation in the construction industry, but also our passion for creating a sustainable future for our cities and its residents.”

Jeroen Heijdra
CEO of ERA contour


SAWA is expected to be completed and open its doors to future residents in early 2025.

SAWA Expert team

NICE Developers and TBI company ERA Contour are developing SAWA. ERA Contour is also responsible for the construction of SAWA. Mei architects and planners is the architect. Focus on Impact is acting as investor of the rental apartments. For the development, design and implementation of SAWA, an international team of experts is involved, including Pieters Bouwtechniek, DERIX Group, Pirmin Jung, Adviesbureau Hamerlinck, DGMR, Aldus

More information


The healthiest building in the Netherlands
SAWA terraces from the square