Large all-wood office building for Bâloise Assurances in Luxembourg

Tim Harrup

One of the most significant office buildings, while not one of the largest, shortly to become a reality is located in Luxembourg. The 9,500 m² construction is located in Leudelange and will, from 2022, be the future headquarters of Bâloise Assurances Luxembourg Named ‘Wooden’ for obvious reasons, this building is virtually unique among offices in being constructed entirely out of the natural material from which it gets its name.

The IKO Real Estate and BPI project has been mandated to Art & Build architects and is set to be the largest wooden office building in Luxembourg and the second building in the country to receive the ‘WELL Building Standard®’ certification, along with being labeled ‘BREEAM excellent’. The WELL certification puts the emphasis on well-being inside the building, and states itself to be a ‘Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management’ and an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facility types, focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to address a post-covid-19 environment now, and broader health and safety-related issues into the future.

The construction of the building is quite naturally based on environmental friendliness. Photovoltaic panels will share the roof with a large planted area, and there will be terraces at each level. All of the load-bearing structure is made from wood sourced from a radius of no more than 350 km, and from sustainable forests within which a tree cut down is replaced by a newly planted one. The pre-fabricated wooden elements are around d 40% lighter than the traditional concrete versions, with a positive impact on the requirements from the foundations and on the number of trucks needed to being materials to the site. Construction also produces less noise and less dust. Another, perhaps less well-known benefit of using trees of the right age is that during their lifetime they absorb CO2, but once mature and beginning to degrade, they release it back into the atmosphere. Building with these trees therefore traps the CO2 inside.

The builing group CFE believes in new ways of building. The company and to limit its carbon footprint and demonstrated it by the founding of Wood Shapers at the beginning of this year; a new entity specializing in wood / hybrid construction for large-scale projects in collaboration with BPI, the real estate development entity of the CFE group. Philippe Courtoy from Woodshapers quoted by Luxembourg newspaper InfoGreen, states: “The hydrometic qualities (humidity in the air) are clear, and wood is also an excellent thermal insulator”. Speaking of the WELL Building Standard he goes on to say: “By contrast with other construction labels, this one puts the emphasis on the health and well-being of the occupants via ten concepts which enable a holistic approach to well-being in the building and its surrounds. These are air, water, power supply, light, physical activity, temperature, noise, materials, spirit and community”.

' Viewing this video, you will beter understand why their developers labelled Wooden "built for well-being' " >>