architect: Claus en Kaan Architecten
location: Wageningen, The Netherlands
Two of the existing three branches of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) will be housed in this building. The complex will comprise a main building with laboratories and offices, and various subsidiary buildings such as greenhouses. It will accommodate a staff of some 160. The new building is situated on the route that connects Wageningen with Ede, opposite the campus of Wageningen University, and thus in the heart of this green centre of knowledge. Representation is therefore an important core value of the assignment. That visibility is transposed into transparency in the design, whereby both a view of the activities and a working climate that makes contact with the outside world are facilitated.
Moreover, sustainable architecture is naturally a priority for the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.
An innovative energy concept, based on the cradle-to-cradle concept, will contribute to the principal’s ambition to implement the most sustainable office and laboratory complex in the Netherlands. New technologies in the field of energy generation, sustainable energy use, choice of materials and CO2 emissions will be incorporated in the building.
The compact building, where laboratories, offices and greenhouses/ponds are at a short distance from one another, is a rational translation of the programme. This approach also generates a sea of space that stands for what is perhaps the most important spearhead of the building: informal encounters. Voids provide open connections between the floors, light and air. Small squares, corridors and the generous dimensions of the communal functions further a relaxed and inspiring working climate.