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Natuurhus Almelo Nature Center (2013)


Different nature-related associations join forces to build a nature center in the middle of a small city in The Netherlands. My role in the project was to interview the stakeholders and provide a map of controversies around the project requirements.

After mapping controversies, I helped them to organize a workshop where these controversies would be discussed in relation to the design of the building, which was already in an advanced stage. The stakeholders, who are also users of the building, evaluated the design according to their future activities.


The future activities were first envisioned according to a yearly, monthly, and weekly schedule based on post-its. That was an opportunity for the members of different nature associations to know more about what the others are going to do. After envisioning the activities, they were asked to tell where they would take place: inside the building, in the winter garden (inside but not heated), or outside.


Finally, they positioned again their activities on the architect’s floor plan, with a more fine-grained detail in terms of where it will be held and what are the requirements for them, for example, water supply, storage, cleaning facilities.


This data gathered with low-tech tools were entered in Autodesk Revit as a 3D model of the building with information on occupancy derived from the envisioned activities. The model was used to run an energy simulation that showed the expected carbon emissions for the energy necessary to heat and cool the building. This information is essential to the project since the goal is to build a sustainable building that serves as an inspiring example for the city.



Van Amstel, Frederick M.C. and Garde, Julia. Games to explore the possibilities of space and the space of possibilities in service design. Simulation & Gaming, 47 (5), 2016, p. 628-650.

Categories: My work, Outreach.

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