Location: Wageningen, Holland
Scope: Research centre
Stage: Completed 2007
Client: Groene Ruimte / Alterra (W.U.)
Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects
Structural Engineer: Pieters Bouwtechniek
Services Engineer: Schreuder Groep
Project Manager: ABT
Contractor: Visser & Smit Bouw
Landscape Architect: B + B / bnt-bns
Local Architect: Van der Oever / Zaaijer / Roodbeen + Partners
Wageningen University and Research Centre chose an agriculturally depleted field as the site for the Centrum de Born, its new consolidated campus northeast of the town of Wageningen. The brief was to develop an anchor for the entrance of this new campus dedicated to environmental research.
The structure’s form was developed through a series of dialogues with the university. The building is adaptive in response to the ever-changing requirements of lab configurations and evolving research initiatives. Spaces are designed with flexible partitioning to be easily convertible into labs or offices.
Common and circulation spaces are emphasised by the architecture. Bridges across the atrium connect different labs, linking different researchers. The building is tightly designed to minimise the footprint within its location, as well as to limit 'wasted space'.
To reflect a commitment to sustainability, a set of criteria was developed that called for user-controlled environments for lighting and temperature and utilized northern light to reduce HVAC expenditures.
Building specifications demanded that the lowest level hold a fully contained and controlled soil research laboratory, vibration-sensitive equipment, and climate-controlled labs, limiting floor arrangements and uses. Through the final design, all of these constraints were successfully resolved.