Ara Almelo, a place where logistics and nature come together

Right next to the entrance of the XL Businesspark Twente in Almelo stands Ara, a logistics destination of over 40,000 m2 with a more than unique double enclosure for the benefit of safety on the one hand and biodiversity and health on the other. For the building itself, Heembouw, which signed for the design and realisation, opted for a simple design and materials with the lowest possible CO2 footprint.

The same applies to Heras’ site security. A more sustainably developed and produced bar fence with a perimeter of about 900 metres was chosen, which, together with the barriers, communication columns, turnstiles and sliding gates, now does its work almost inconspicuously. That Heembouw chose Heras is understandable. After all, Heras recently became part of the 2024 ESG Top-Rated Companies and that results in pride. An assessment by external research firm Sustainalytics resulted in Heras being in the top 10% of its sector when it comes to its ESG performance policy. In addition, Ecovadis, the world’s leading provider of corporate sustainability assessments, awarded Heras with a silver medal for its ESG performance in 2024.


The challenge

In this Stellar Development development, Heembouw met the requirements around health, environment and safety, among others, in its own unique way. ‘Besides designing an attractive and functional distribution centre, we also wanted to include the interests of people, nature and animals in the brief,’ explains architect Diederik de Jonge. ‘The nature screen that forms around the destination like an ecological bow is the answer to that. Not only is this screen beautiful to look at, it emphatically makes a strong contribution to the area’s biodiversity.’ The 15-metre-high and almost one-kilometre-long steel structure will soon become – once all the planted crops start growing – a sea of green. To prevent unauthorised people from entering Ara’s premises and to manage traffic flows on the site, Heembouw contacted Heras. ‘The aim was to make ensuring security as invisible as possible. The nature screen had to be the eye-catcher.’

“Heras thought along on all sides to come up with a solution for this. It’s nice to have a partner who actively thinks along and provides insight into the possibilities.”

– Architect Diederik de Jonge of Heembouw

The approach

‘Heras is a specialist in site security,’ explains Norbert van Lieshout of Heras. ‘Whether it’s an institution where you need to keep people inside and want to admit visitors in a controlled way, or a logistics centre where you need to guarantee security without jeopardising the continuity of logistics operations. With a building like Ara, it is particularly about demarcation and support of transport movements. Gates have to open and close again at the right time and at the right speed.’

‘Heembouw knocks on our door in the preliminary stages of large projects like this as standard. We submit a proposal based on the drawings and then the ball starts rolling. Because we’ve been working together for years, we know exactly what to expect from each other. De Jonge agrees: ‘We like working with regular partners. Our cooperation with Heras is very efficient, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel anywhere. Because the transport movements in this project take place around the building, the line of the security fencing ran right through the nature screen. Heras contributed ideas on all sides to come up with a solution for this. It’s nice to have a partner who actively thinks along and provides insight into the possibilities.’

The solution

Heras has a very complete supply programme from which a choice is made depending on the particular security level. A mesh fence does not keep unwanted visitors out,’ explains Van Lieshout. ‘Such fencing mainly forms a symbolic partition. This project called for a more thorough and cleaner solution. Heras therefore recommended, among other things, a more durable bar fence, a solution that is available in different heights and forms the basis of good physical site security. Together with the barriers, communication columns, turnstiles and sliding gates, the more sustainably developed and produced Grence Atlas fencing with a perimeter of about 900 metres is now doing its job almost unobtrusively. Exactly as Heembouw had envisaged.’

‘In this project, Heras managed to achieve the most invisible site security possible,’ explains De Jonge. ‘I am very satisfied with the result. The only thing I would have done differently now is to omit the coating. It matches the look of the distribution centre perfectly, but the fence would have been fine aesthetically even in a galvanised version. It would fit even better with our aim of doing more with less!’