Utrecht – The Greenhouse Restaurant

The Green House is a restaurant based on circular principles: no waste, a temporary and removable building and food from local suppliers. Utrecht is encouraging and facilitating this initiative for example with a flexible zoning plan. The land has been made available by the Central Government Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf) and private investment amounts to 2.5 million euro.

The pavilion is planned as a ‘driver’ for the circular economy, in both form and function, by offering a special experience and a special approach to running hospitality facilities, workplaces and innovations, to underpin the principles of the ‘Smart Sustainable City’. It is planned as a circular economy laboratory, designed in such a way that it will run for 15 years, before being relocated or reused. In other words, circular design from the foundations up. In the development and operation of the facility, CO2 reduction will for example be achieved through circular principles.

The residual value is high because even in the design, the dismantling and relocation of the building after 15 years in operation were planned for. The use of new materials has been reduced by using windows from the adjacent Knoopkazerne barracks; the air hoses are Cradle2Cradle; the floor covering consists of reused plastic, and all furniture is second hand.


The Municipality of Utrecht is encouraging and facilitating the development for example by providing a flexible zoning plan. Together with the Dutch Railways (NS) and Government Real Estate Agency, the aim was to share knowledge and remove obstacles. This helped encourage the developers/builders Strukton, Ballast Nedam and operator Albron/Facilicom to stick their neck out in this 15-year circular collaboration project.

Via Facebook and a series of meetings, local residents were called to contribute their ideas for the plans. The project has created between 30 and 40 new jobs, and a location with flexible workstations. The operator is working with the Colour Kitchen, an organisation that aims to prevent the wasting of talent.

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