Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory
by DHV Architecten

| 5 comments

Eindhoven studio DHV Architecten have completed a laboratory for nanotechnology in Delft, the Netherlands.

Called Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory, the building centres around an atrium where meetings can take place.

Above photo is by Koos Rensen

The laboratory operates 24 hours a day and corridors lining the facade make scientists visible from outside the campus.

Photographs are by Rene de Wit unless stated otherwise.

The information below is from the architects:


Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory. It’s an advanced research facility for nanotechnology. It is unique in being the only laboratory where a national research organization and a leading technology university join forces to create the extraordinary.

This state-of-the-art facility is the result of decades of pioneering research by TNO and TU Delft.

Whether it is science, education, R&D or business opportunities: Delft is at the heart of nanotechnology innovations worldwide.

Industrial buildings are characterized by a pragmatic and process-driven configuration.

Unlike schools, theaters and libraries it’s not the user-experience but the industrial process which is leading.

Form follows function.

Progressive and very complex research places extremely high demands on the building.

The underlying principle of the architectonic design was to once again place humans in a central position.

The focus thus lies on communication between the building’s users, but also on (visual) communication with the outside world – the atrium plays an important role in this.

It forms an interface between the clean rooms (machine) and users. The atrium is suitable for meetings and stimulates an exchange of knowledge.

Because the building is occupied around the clock, at night it acts as a beacon for its surroundings.

The main corridors adjoin the outer facades in such a way that the scientists become visible from the campus and the daylight and heat load of the cleanrooms can be regulated more efficiently.

The colored perforations in the building’s façade provide insight into the technology of the future, from within the building they serve as guiding points for the technical staff.

Client: TNO Finance & Real Estate
Location: Delft – The Netherlands
Project scope: 9300 m2 GFA
Design to completion: 2004 – 2009

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  • gab xiao

    Here’s an elegant building that speaks out about its function!

  • felix

    It has a nice high tech cleanness to it while implying some of the mystery that a laboratory entails, but I’m not sure if most of that feeling is the good photography rather than the good architecture.

    Also, the partitions, doors and windows of the lab rooms are a real let down. Maye they’re a specialised product that had to be used, but it’s a shame.

    How does the building “place humans in a central position”? With solid balustrades you can barely see your colleagues as they circulate. Since the main natural light is coming from the skylights, why is it not maximised by having more glass and less circulation?

    That vertical slit window on the corner breaks the horizontal lines of the facade for no good reason.

    That said, the horizontal cladding is great, and I like those ventilation slits laying flush. And the windows have enough logic to them to avoid looking like someone played pin-the-rectangle-on-the-elevation, like in some projects.

  • felix

    Just noticed the windows have rainbow colours on the return. Blergh :(
    There’s no rainbows in the rest of the project, why here?

  • Jeff

    Very Dutch.

  • http://designbyk.wordpress.com/ techxinsider

    This design is great, yet I wonder if the users feel the same encouragement of meetings as was intended in the design.