BOOMerang returns to Sander

Sander proud of his circular houses

13-11-2018

Sander Storms (28) was only working at Inbo for a couple of months when he was asked to lead the team for this competition. BOOMerang consists of sustainable houses in boomerang-shaped buildings located in the forest, where verdure, health and future-proofing are a matter of course – ‘boom’ being the Dutch word for ‘tree’. It was no trivial task. Just recently out of school and having to come up with, organise and present such a sustainable and circular design. 

What does circular mean to you? ‘The first thing that comes to mind is the use of materials and the energy that accompanies their application. Choosing materials that have been reused or are easy to recycle. We came up with façades that are made from PET. If PSV wins the national cup (after all, this is an Eindhoven project), the entire city will be filled with plastic cups, trays and bottles following the celebration. We can use that waste to make the façades. Besides, you can shape it to look like wood. Isn’t that a great idea?’ 

Houses in boomerang-shaped residential blocks, in the middle of nature. Was there anything else circular besides the building materials? ‘Absolutely. We gave a lot of thought to ways to make it more circular by involving the residents. The reasoning is simple: if you involve the residents in the design process, they will be less likely to want to make changes (i.e. demolish) once the houses are delivered, which in turn decreases the waste of energy and materials. Moreover, circularity does not stop at the delivery. Sustainability reaches much further. Think of how these people will create a commune. So close to the landscape with beautiful garden conservatories. Sharing also contributes to circularity. We created an app which the residents can use to share their things. This could be anything from a lawnmower or a ladder to leftovers from dinner. Social impact is a part of our total design.’ 

Why is it unjust that BOOMerang did not win? ‘Heh, that’s a tough question. It all looked so good. It was very innovative in its approach; but to give an example, we chose sand-lime for the walls separating the houses instead of wood, which would have been a better choice. It was amazing to work with other parties as well. It was great to see how the landscape architect (Felixx) and our team slowly got in tune. Suddenly, all the pieces of the puzzle fit.’ 

Project BOOMerang is over. What’s next? ‘I proudly look back at this dream project. The images are on my phone, and I regularly show them to people. New ideas have already started piling up in my head. I’m currently in my Professional Traineeship, and I will get on another project like this as soon as I get the chance.’

Further information: Sander Storms