46-year-old architect Paul de Ruiter wrote a philosophical doctoral thesis that proposed the use of active building materials to create energy-efficient structures, thereby less dependent on conventional temperature controls. Since 1994, his firm has carried out this philosophy by designing unique, cost-effective dwellings for his clients, with offices in Amsterdam and Beijing.
De Ruiter employs a number of sustainability concepts during construction. His buildings incorporate revolutionary ideas, like harnessing the power of natural light, solar energy, and climate-controlled building exteriors to store or divert excess heat throughout the year, increasing energy efficiency.
The last several years have seen De Ruiter’s firm concentrating on design characteristics that blend with natural environments, like the Rijkswaterstaat office in Middleburg, Netherlands, completed in 2004. Set into favorable surroundings along a water delta, the office utilizes acres of glass and cold storage pipes underground to allow the active concrete to store heat in winter and cool the interiors in summer. The office employs a versatile design with wide hallways, and a spacious, open structure for maximum comfort and versatility.