Circl: international symbol for circular innovation

Circl, ABN AMRO’s multi-purpose circular pavilion, opened its doors on 5 September 2017. This unique building is a real eye-catcher in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, and not only because of its striking wood and glass design. Circl was born from a circular vision that centres on high-quality recycling of materials, energy-neutral consumption and a bare minimum of waste.

The circular economy in a nutshell

Just to refresh your memory: in a circular economy, we use our shrinking resources economically by recycling products as much as possible. Unlike the linear economy – in which we make things, use them and then throw them away – we design new products so that they’re easier to re-use. Sustainable production generates lower greenhouse gas emissions. All of this re-use and recycling results in a healthier environment and society, and a more sustainable economy.

Sustainable to the last drop

Circl was designed to have the lowest possible environmental footprint. So right from the outset, the designers considered assembly issues during construction and disassembly after use. In fact, many parts of the building have already been used elsewhere: the insulation material in the ceiling is made from 16,000 pairs of used jeans, the window frames in the conference rooms come from old office buildings, and the furniture was previously used by ABN AMRO and restored for Circl. 

Other materials – from the wood used in construction to the aluminium of the façade panels – can be fully re-used in the future. The 500 solar panels on the roof produce more than enough power for Circl and the building uses direct current (DC) rather than alternating current (AC), meaning there’s minimum energy loss in conversion. The impressive roof garden offers birds, bees and butterflies all the space they need.

Meeting place for sustainable thinkers and doers

Circl isn’t just a textbook example of circular building; it’s also a favourite meeting place for sustainable movers and shakers, a living lab serving as a platform for great ideas about sustainability and circularity. From clients to colleagues and from local residents to passers-by: everyone is welcome to drop in and engage in discussions on how to shape a more sustainable economy. In fact, we often run programmes on sustainable themes at Circl, while our meeting, restaurant and exhibition spaces are all open to the public.

Circular together

Circular building is rapidly gaining momentum across the world, but was virgin territory when Circl was first built. To successfully develop the pavilion and become a global leader, we needed to forge close partnerships and so worked closely with architects, advisors, Delft University of Technology and suppliers to create a new generation of sustainable solutions.

Our impressive pavilion at Gustav Mahlerplein in Amsterdam is the ultimate real-life expression of our sustainable efforts, and it’s our way to challenge society, the markets and ourselves to make the world ever more circular. 

“Circl is a perfect fit with ABN AMRO’s sustainability ambitions, as set down in our Mission 2030. Mission 2030 commits us to making ABN AMRO-financed homes and offices sustainable and average energy label A by 2030. By applying and facilitating circular earnings models, we want to contribute even more to a future-proof society.” -- Kees van Dijkhuizen, ABN AMRO’s CEO.

Interesting articles