About the competition

The REHVAxVELUX “Healthy Buildings Design Competition” encourages and challenges students and young professionals working within the field of building and buildings service systems, operation and construction to explore the theme of healthy living – and to create a deeper understanding of indoor environmental qualities as well as exploring the impact of future climate changes. 

The award celebrates and promotes excellence in projects with focus on people’s health and indoor climate solutions in their living environments and at the same time balancing energy use.

The award encourages projects that celebrate the privilege of being a student or young professional; with curiosity and with the willingness to think “out of the box” in the approach to the indoor environmental dimension of future living. 


Imagine you have a plot in a Rotterdam, on the edge of the city, close to an industrial area; but still you and your team mates are determined to create an above average healthy & comfortable apartment complex for 20 households, that tunes in with present day challenges. What would you build on that plot? How would you shape a new way of living at this suboptimal location? How will you make the best out of it? And how would you make this dwelling complex healthy and comfortable but also energy efficient and climate resilient?  

As a healthy home, the focus of the project is on the indoor environment – the health and well-being of the occupants. The indoor air quality as well as thermal, acoustical and visual comfort play an important role in the design. The project should present the solutions applied to achieve the best level of comfort, in terms of indoor climate and daylight. A specific focus should be set on the contemporary and future challenges faced by both designers and end users e.g., related to climate change. Also, the design should tune in with the specifics of the (virtual) building site.  

The healthy home of the future is expected to be also sustainable and resilient to climate change. Sustainability can be seen in many different aspects, mainly related to the environment, the economy and the society. The project should use the most appropriate level of technologies according to the building use, considering hybrid ventilation, active and passive solutions where possible and have a clear sustainable direction in its energy consumption while maintaining high indoor climate quality. The buildings and systems should also be ready to adapt or resist to the climate challenges of tomorrow. 

Presentation by Atze Boerstra


Coordinates of the competition site: 51.894450 N, 4.385560 E

Impression of the site:

Location description: North Western edge of the Madroelpark in Pernis-Rotterdam

The project is planned for an area that is on the edge of the Rotterdam metropole in a semi-industrial, informal area that allows for new construction to happen without large impact on existing ecosystems. Pernis is up and coming as more and more people discover that this is a location with an atmosphere of its own, still not too far from downtown Rotterdam (20 minutes by metro or waterbus) with housing and land prices that are 30-50% lower than elsewhere in the region.

The area is now in use as soccer field. The soccer club that at present uses the field is planned to be relocated elsewhere. The Northern part of the upper soccer field and surroundings is the location for our competition.

A drawback of the location is the fact that the area as a whole (and our building site) is surrounded by highways, busy waterways and industry (incl. petrochemical industry). This implies that outdoor air, external noise and light pollution are issues that should be taken into account when planning and designing new buildings.

The location is outside the present winter dyke; this dyke will stay as it is. The implies that the design should anticipate on periodical flooding of the plot (assume a maximum flooding height of 1 meter above the level of the present soccer field).

For more information about the site and the surrounding area’s:

For the competition a residential complex of at least 20 apartments has to be designed. The maximum height (this includes items attached to the roof) that is allowed is 18 meters above the present level of the field. Aim for one structure (volume) that at its highest point has a total of 5 floors including the ground floor. 

The apartments should be diverse in character and size, allowing for households sized 1 to 6 people across all age groups, some also with included studios/workspaces (anticipating on people working from home). Gross floor area of the apartments should vary from around 60 m2 to around 200 m2.

At least 10% of the net floor surface of the building should be projected for communal use by all households. Specific functions that are communal: to be suggested by the design team.

The rest of the area (the other half of the soccer field and other plots now used by the soccer club that layout outside the red indicated area of photo 2) is planned to be used (later in time) for new terraced houses with a maximum height of 9 meters (not part of our competition).

A maximum of 33% of the site of 64 x 45 meters (see photo 2) can be used for the footprint of the apartment complex. At least 33% of the site should be designed for general, public use of the outdoor space; the rest of the plot can have any use; this part of the plot ideally should be designated for use that stimulates healthy, sustainable and climate resilient living.

Car parking is allowed on the plot but for not more than 10 (partly communal) cars in total. But the whole site should be designed to be (first and for all) pedestrian and push-bikers friendly. Assume car access from the East side of the plot.