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Energy-neutral floating neighborhood in Rotterdam waterproofed with RubberGard EPDM

The Nassauhaven, in the Feijenoord district in Rotterdam, was dug between 1890 and 1892 and originally intended for factories that had to be located on waterways and needed a railway connection. In the second half of the 20th century, when more road transport was being used, many companies left the area and the Nassauhaven turned into an unused harbor basin.

In 2019, Public Domain Architects (PDA) started a first pilot to develop a neighborhood of 18 spacious houses floating on the Nassauhaven’s tidal water, designed to be future-proof, sustainable and great to live in. In a city such as Rotterdam, where there is limited space and a growing demand for quality housing, this project presented itself as a very sustainable solution.

The floating houses were designed to be energy-neutral and all building materials were selected for their sustainability, robustness and aesthetic character. Each house has a base set of solar panels that can be further extended later by the home owners. Heat is generated from biomass and wastewater is treated and purified directly in the building.

All 18 floating houses were prefabricated offsite. Once the walls were finished, the roofs were waterproofed with Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM 1.1 mm thick roofing membrane, fully adhered on top of the PIR insulation. The houses were then transported to their final location at the Nassauhaven.

RubberGard EPDM is ideal for prefab construction. It is available in a wide range of widths, which maximizes efficiency and minimizes material losses. In addition, the RubberGard EPDM roofing system is installed without using open flame, which is a very important aspect of off-site construction.

RubberGard EPDM is also extremely durable and resilient and is compatible with photovoltaic and green roofs. It is also an inert material, which means that it does not release pollutants into the rainwater that runs off the roofs. This allowed rainwater to be released directly into the Nassauhaven without the need for further treatment.

This project was nominated for the Dutch “Roof of the Year 2020” awards, in the Flat Roofs category.