The RAU architectural team, based in Amsterdam, adopts a particular attitude, defined by the term oneplanetarchitecture: RAU designs buildings with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Since 1992, the practice has been working for the public and private sectors, maintaining an approach that is conscious of planet earth and uses integral methodology. RAU is actively involved in the current international discussion on sustainability and in developing energy-saving technology and concepts for energy-producing buildings. In a world where so much nature is threatened by human activity, RAU considers it its mission to make a positive contribution through its presence and its work.
“The work of RAU seems to pursue a variety of directions. RAU considers that the appearance of their buildings has less to do with style than with methodology. The firm’s buildings have to be different because each is designed according to particular circumstances, such as the history of the place, the needs of the user, the local context, and the social value.
Rau and his team search for what they call the ‘DNA of the building’ that is the underlying factors that seem to require or predetermine its form, for the design process as they see it ideally should not be an imposition of preconceived ideas, but a metamorphosis through multiple versions until the most appropriate combination of qualities is discovered ….
Thomas Rau stresses that it is not so much individual energy saving measures that are important as their integration in a total design. An exemplary client was the Triodos Bank, for which RAU built both the Dutch headquarters and more recently the headquarters for the International branch. In a way typical of RAU, it combines concerns for the site, for accommodating and expressing the nature of the firm, and for setting a serious green agenda as an example of the bank’s green attitudes visibly put into practice.” (Peter Blundell Jones)
Designs by RAU are characterised by a proficient level of sustainability. Some even set new standards, like the head office of the WWF Netherlands. This former agricultural laboratory was transformed into a CO2-neutral and (almost entirely) self-sufficent office building. Provisional calculations for Le Carré de Soie, a CO2 neutral and energy surplus-producing mixed-use office complex in Lyon (to be completed in 2011) show promising results: LEED Platinum, BREEAM excellent, EPBD A++ and German Passivhaus status.