Rehan Houtbundel Fabriek

Eco Factory & Distribution, Co Wicklow

The brief for the Houtbundel Fabriek  was to be the country’s most sustainable factory building. The building is composed of three volumes, which represent the three principle activities of this electronics factory: assembly, storage and administration. Heights and breadths of the various elements are derived from the necessary volumetric requirements of the process. Storage, the largest volume, is positioned to the south to prevent over-shadowing of the neighbouring domestic properties. The assembly area is characterised by north facing roof lights in order to facilitate day lighting of the space and prevent solar over heating. The administration block is a two-storey building, which provides the public face to the entrance and car park and allows the canteen, offices and gym to enjoy the wide view.

The building is ambitious in terms of its ecological agenda, and sustainability has informed the material choices that characterise the building: the lime rendered Poroton block and the cedar clad timber frame of the offices. Round pole timber trusses are the building’s dominant architectural feature; above the factory floor they span 25 metres giving a clear open space and provide the roof lights and natural ventilation routes. In the storage space they are inverted, giving a simple roof deck punctured with sun pipes spotting light into this cavernous volume.

As a design, it distances itself from the typology of the industrial estate and in ethos has more in common with the nineteenth century factory. As a building, it is functionally expressive and the detailing follows a pragmatic, durable approach as befits a factory. Moreover, with the realisation of the client’s ambitions for a healthier place to work –natural paints, day lighting and natural ventilation, the incorporation of social facilities such as a gym and canteen – the building purports optimism about the working environment seldom seen in factory design.

Advanced water saving strategies were employed including large scale rainwater harvesting.  Advanced wastewater strategies including solid separation composting were designed but not implemented here due to planning restrictions.



Contract Value:
€3 million
Carnew, Co. Wicklow