DPC Raise the roof!


innovative, sustainable and local alternatives to asbestos roofs of Groninger farms


What are innovative, sustainable and local alternatives to the asbestos roofs of the Groninger farms? That was the central question for the Design Pressure Cooker ‘Dak eraf!’ (Raise the roof!), which we organised for the Province of Groningen, Libau and the Farmstead Foundation Groningen.

In 2024, all asbestos roofs in Groningen must be replaced with new roofs. This is a huge operation, as asbestos is frequently is frequently used in Groningen as roof covering on the characteristic barns and stables. In total, this involves around 120 million m², of which about 75% concerns the agricultural sector.

Design, material and landscape
During the Design Pressure Cooker ‘Dak eraf!’ (Raise the roof!) the focus was on three farms: the arable farm of Geert Vos, the cattle farm of Peter Bijenen and a residential farm. These cases were linked by Eileen Blackmore to a designer, an entrepreneur with material knowledge and a specialist in the field of landscape, architecture and energy.

The participating designers were Simone Larabi, Volken de Vlas and Gerard de Hoop. As part of the project We are going to experience research on local materials in Groningen, including hemp, chitin, brick, shells and clay.

The material knowledge came from representatives of innovative companies Novareet, Hempflax, Icopal and Bionic Coatings. The teams were also supported by Rob Jacobs from L’Orel consultancy, Gerben Kleiman from Libau and building historian Gitta op den Akker.

‘You’ll get there all the while!
During the DPC, it became clear that the solution had to be found in a modular system, based on a waterproof, vapour-open, insulated roof. The rest of the content, functionality and aesthetics is up to the farmer or the resident himself. Thus, the solution is suitable for multiple purposes. Farmer Geert: ‘That is the pressure cooker; you’ll get there in a tormented way!’

Initial conclusions:

  • Working on a modular system.
  • There is a preference for local materials with all participants.
  • Aesthetic value is important for most farmers.
  • There is a need for a testing ground; to be able to test materials outside, to try out constructions, to show different forms that take into account the aesthetic value and to show the importance of this project.
  • To create added value through integral solutions and/or integration of new functions in the roof, parties such as engineers, constructors, building physicists and/or architects are needed as well.


This first meeting was in the Heyema Heerd in March – which also has an asbestos roof – in Oldenhove. In April, the group meets again at the Novariet Experience Centre in Musselkanaal.

The roof will be cut off in Groningen
The Design Pressure Cooker is part of the project ‘In Groningen the roof goes off’. Students, researchers and businesses from several sectors are challenged to submit specific plans for the (further) development of innovative types of roofing. The criterion is that added value is created in areas such as sustainability, energy transition, earthquake resistance, tailor-made solutions for job change and reallocation, preservation of cultural heritage and spatial quality. The ultimate goal is to stimulate the Groningen business community to innovate and to produce new roofing materials for this large-scale replacement operation.


Where: Groningen
When: March and april 2018
Partners: Province of Groningen, Libau en Boerderijen Stichting Groningen.
Tags: innovation, material research, local economy.

  • 'That's the power of the pressure cooker, eventually you'll get there!'