Monarch IV is a high-rise development commissioned by Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, the Central Government Real Estate Agency. Once complete, it will provide much-needed office accommodation for government employees in the Hague.

The natural choice for the structure was wood

Royal HaskoningDHV was asked to develop an integrated concept design for the building. Key requirements included the use of a parametric approach, that the building should be constructed with wood and meet the sustainability goals of Rijksvastgoedbedrijf. In addition, the lead time was very short.

Interest in the use of wood in projects is increasing. Wood is sustainable, durable, stores carbon and its lighter weight reduces transport costs. It was therefore a natural choice for the structure in view of the challenging environmental ambitions of the government in the Netherlands.

Structural design solution provides stability as well as flexibility

The choice of wood has important consequences for the structural design of the building. Wood is lighter in weight and less rigid than concrete. This affects the stability system and results in wind vibrations having more impact. Another challenge addressed by our structural designers was to ensure that building supports did not interfere with the functionality of the space.

We opted for a design in which the basement up to and including the second floor is made of concrete and steel. The remaining 19 floors are built with wood. The stability system for the tower is provided by wooden diagonals in a structural grid. This removed the need for a stability core in the building, providing lots of freedom for the functional layout.

Parametric approach leads to 30% reduction in wood required

Our integrated approach brought together architectural and structural disciplines including building physics, sustainability and building services in a single parametric model. The benefit of such a model is that it informs decision making by providing immediate visualisation of the impact of any modifications and enables the design to be optimised across a range of parameters.

The parametric design enabled the dimensions of each individual support column to be calculated, rather than standardising elements within each floor. The precision of these calculations reduced the total amount of wood required by 30%.

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