Arcadis: Resource and Energy Efficient Building Strategy Using Organic Construction Materials

Arcadis and MVSA Architects designed the Holland Casino Venlo to reduce energy and resource use, employing several of the principles detailed above.

The design incorporates the previous casino structure, reducing the need to replace what is still usable and hence saving the associated cost and CO2 emissions. The building’s skeleton consists of removable and reusable wooden beams and the insulation is made of 100% hemp fiber, keeping the carbon captured during growth in the material. Many of the materials used have residual value, increasing the likelihood of reuse at the building’s end-of-life.

In daily operations, rainwater is collected for use in the greywater circuit and later purified by a living sand–reed helophyte filter, reducing the need for external sewage treatment. To reduce energy consumption and cost, photovoltaic film captures solar energy, visitors generate energy through the interactive entrance floor, and light tubes direct daylight into the interior, reducing the need for artificial lighting during daytime. 

Business case

The business returns of Casino Venlo are diverse. For example, the energy demand is lowered by realizing long-cyclic building elements for the construction, a passive bio-based façade and roof, PV-foils, and a hybrid ventilation system. Also, the bio-based and circular concepts ensure that materials have residual value.

Next Steps

Casino Venlo is an iconic building that shows how thinking and designing bio-based and circular is vital for future developments that are in harmony with nature and make sustainability applicable. The casino serves as a leading example for future developments that seek to find balance between innovation, growth, health and sustainability. Moreover, the timber structures used in the casino are only the beginning of a growing interest, and development of, wooden building structures. At Arcadis we support the potential of timber structures in bio-based design.   

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Company in brief

Arcadis is an internationally renowned design and consultancy company for the natural and built environment. In partnership with our clients we deliver sustainable outcomes through design, consultancy, engineering and project and management services. We are active in the fields of infrastructure, water, environment and buildings. As a leading company in the building sector we are eager to deliver integral solutions and set a new standard: a circular bioeconomy for building materials and construction.    


There were two key objectives for the Holland Casino design: maximizing sustainability with the prerequisite of using Cradle-2-Cradle and bio-based principles and optimizing user experience.

The two ambitions are immediately visible in the building design. The complex forms a transition area between the business park and the Natura 2000 nature reserve on the Maas River.

Smart solutions and natural elements in and around the building allowed to provide maximum comfort for visitors and achieve sustainability goals.


The aim was to develop the casino as the next sustainable icon with an image based on biobased economy and biomimicry. This was only possible by combining an integrated design approach with knowledge of state of the art bio-based innovations. The building’s design was created treating the building as an organism, with skin (eg. bio-based insulation), a skeleton (eg. a modular wooden structure), metabolism (eg. optimizing energy metabolism) and a brain (eg. smart sensors). The final design maximized three core values: profitable sustainability, adaptive qualities, and visible sustainability. 

Sustainability criteria

Casino Venlo is an example of how social, environmental, and technical goals are brought together to enhance each other. The flower-like structures emerges from bio-based asphalt to provide energy and fresh air for the casino. In line with circular design, this structure was built using the previous casino structure, along with new bio-based materials. The building’s skeleton consists of removeable and reusable wooden beams and the insulation is made of 100% hemp fiber. The design was tested using GPR (Dutch municipal guidelines that test a design/building practical guidelines; calculating the total sustainability of a building). These calculations show that the building even exceeds its initial sustainability goals. A material passport was used in BIM with all aspects concerning maintenance, financial situation, appointments, etc. 

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