De St@art office and educational centre De St@art is the new office and educational centre of the Apenheul Foundation and the Natuurhuis in Apeldoorn. Aside from its function as an office, De St@art will also serve as a centre for environmental education and as a meeting place for associations, business people, students and visitors. It has an underground auditorium for 350 visitors, two multi-functional rooms, a studio, an exhibition area and treatment rooms for the vets of the Apenheul in the building. Director Coen de Ruiter explains the client’s objective: “We hope that De St@art will be an inspiration centre that stimulates people to make choices that contribute to a better, more sustainable future. That explains the subtitle, ‘room for sustainable living in Apeldoorn’.” De St@art is designed to look like a gigantic wooden skeleton that forms a binding element between the Apenheul and Park Berg en Bos. The arrival of the building will introduce a new trail that runs through the park to the entrance of the Apenheul. To emphasise the perception of nature, parts of the building, such as the auditorium, have been constructed underground as much as possible. The building is 150 metres long. The construction of the timber frame rests on 29 rafters of native larch. The largest rafter is 30 m long and weighs approximately three tonnes. All the wood that has been used is FSC or PEFC certified. The wooden surfaces will soon be covered with solar cells, which will largely meet the electrical needs of the building. The park side of the building is almost completely finished in glass, offering employees and visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding trees. In many respects, the St@art, designed by the architectural firm RAU, satisfies the client’s requirements for a sustainable and inspiring accommodation. The building has no gas connection and is CO2 neutral. Thanks to concrete core activation and a geothermal heat pump, no radiators or air conditioning are needed for heating and cooling. A recuperator also recycles heat generated by people and equipment. The LED lighting in the building is linked to an intelligent lighting system; the lighting is automatically regulated per work area. The building has a floor area of 3,550 m2.