In the beautiful old monastery garden of the Brakkenstein district, in the south of the city of Nijmegen, diederendirrix built a monastery and church in 2011. As a follow-up we delivered Aquaviva in 2016, part of a block of buildings situated in the Kloosterpark, which also includes the church and the monastery, the Parkgebouw and a printing company. The Parkgebouw with 23 owner-occupied apartments is due to open soon. The cohesion between the buildings is manifested in the access ways through curved brickwork arches, the gates and the layout of the monastery garden. A well springs from the garden and the stream crosses the grounds, forming an axis and flowing out into a meadow beyond the garden. Along the axis are the Parkgebouw and the renovated printing company with its outdoor terrace.

Aquaviva consists of 98 residential care apartments, most of which will house elderly priests and Jesuits, but 24 of the rental and owner-occupied apartments will be made available to residents from outside the religious order. The dimensions of the apartments vary from 50 to 135 m², and they range from one-bedroom apartments to spacious five-bedroom penthouses. A number of the residential care apartments features a flexible set-up so in future they can be easily joined to form  apartments for the commercial market. Beneath the building are a parking garage and store-rooms for residents.

The residential buildings are characterised by their light-coloured brickwork, which gives them their striking yet serene appearance. All the apartments are connected to an innovative heating system: ice heating, making this the first residential building in the Netherlands fully heated and cooled by a sustainable system. A completely autonomous system which makes optimum use of the inexhaustible and freely available natural energy sources: sun, air, earth and water.

The first residential building in the Netherlands fully heated and cooled by a sustainable system

In collaboration with ABT, SolarEis Benelux BV designed the installation, which comprises an underground ice buffer of a 765 m³ content, based on a 350 kW heating capacity and a 250 kW autonomous cooling capacity. The ice buffer is coupled to heating pumps which supply the underfloor heating and cooling as well as the building’s domestic hot water installation. On the roof, 141 sun and air absorbers have been installed that collect energy from the outside air, direct and diffused sunrays and rain and wind. These are stored at low temperatures within the ice buffer.

During the winter season, the system extracts heat from the underground buffer, gradually cooling down the buffer container as the heating season passes. This means that as the heating season draws to a close, little effort will be needed to turn the water into ice to cool the residential building during the summer months. Since all the water and ice are stored in a closed container, there is no outside environmental impact on the process.


2018: winner Gulden Feniks in the category area transformation.

2017: honourable mention Architecture award Nijmegen.

Project details

  • Start date
  • January 2013
  • End date
  • January 2017
  • Client
  • De Nederlandse Provincie der Paters Jezuïten
  • Dimensions
  • 17.000 m2
  • Photography
  • Bas Gijselhart | BASEPHOTOGRAPHY

Want to know more about this project?

Pieter de Ruijter


+31 (0)40 26 06 755E-mail