Primary Education


Biobased Kidshouse

In the Botanical Garden of University of Technology Delft there is a children’s playhouse that is made entirely from innovative green building materials.

All parts of the house have been made from natural materials such as agricultural waste, hemp, tree bark or potato peel. The “Kidshouse” is a striking example of ‘biobased’ building without using chemical materials made from fossil fuels.

On the compost heap

The natural raw materials ensure that the Kidshouse is fully recyclable. After they have been used, the individual parts can, as it were, be simply thrown on the compost heap. Biobased construction, therefore, not only reduces the dependence on fossil compounds, but also represents a significant decrease in the amount of waste. Ultimately, the innovative building materials contribute to making the environment more waste-free. A number of the materials used have actually been certified as ‘cradle to cradle’. This means that after their useful life has expired, all the components can be recycled in another product.

The new developments raise many questions about the way people live and consume. In the Kidshouse at the Science Center, consumers of the future can already familiarise themselves with this new reality, in which they are not only going to live, but are also going to work.

The Netherlands is a global leader in the field of sustainable building. Numerous companies in the chemical industry, energy, logistics, water, agriculture, market gardening and parent materials are currently adapting their production processes for a world in which oil is becoming increasingly scarce. Together they form the ‘biobased economy’. It is not without reason that the Dutch government has identified this sector as an important part of the ten economic top sectors.

A bioplastic electric socket

The colourful Kidshouse and slide has been constructed following a playful and futuristic design by the 2D3D agency. More than ten innovative European companies each supplied a component of the house. For example, the panelling of the house is made from Ecoboards of compressed straw and the waterproof roofing from vegetable oils. Coconut and hemp fibreboards are used for the interior walls. The electric sockets are made from bioplastic based on potato peel.

Inside the house, children can not only play and use the slide, but they can also use the playful texts and drawings to learn a thing or two about the origins of petroleum and its alternatives. For example, one of the posters in the house explains how bioplastic is made. Or the reason why the walls smell so nice. “These walls are made from rice. Not the rice your mother makes, but from the thin skin that surrounds grains of rice.”


The Kidshouse is an initiative of BE-Basic, an international public-private partnership between universities, research institutes and companies, with Delft University of Technology as coordinating university. 

BE-Basic wants children to learn about their own future, in which more and more materials and products will consist of sustainable resources. One of the primary reasons for this is that many of today’s building materials are based on either petroleum or other raw materials that are becoming increasingly scarce. The playhouse has been realised in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The realisation of the Kidshouse was also supported financially by Purac, a company that focuses among other things on the manufacture of biobased plastics.

The Kidshouse has been officially opened June 4th by minister Maxim Verhagen of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation at the FloriadeRijkspaviljoen My Green World in Venlo. The Floriade was a temporary exhibition till October 7. As we want the Kidshouse to be used for educational purposes the placement of the Kidshouse in the Science Center Delft is an excellent location.

The Kidshouse is on display at the Botanical Garden in Delft as of June 24th 2013.