It started with a renowned high-tech company that was based in an anonymous business hall. It ended with a new building that gave the company back its pride and sparked a major transformation. A dream for every architect, with a result that no one could have predicted in advance. Welcome to EPR Partner at the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen!
EPR specialises in the smart (co-)design and production of electronic printed circuit boards (PCBs), modules and systems for the high-tech industry. But when we visited the company for the first time, we found a high-tech company housed in a building so unremarkable that it didn’t dare to receive customers. EPR wanted something different: a building that would do justice to their top quality, high-tech work.
At the time, we knew little about the world of custom printed circuit boards. So, the first thing we did was delve into business operations and specific production methods and were surprised to find that PCBs involve a large amount of manual work. Only after we fully understood all of the client’s requirements and wishes did we get to work. Our goal: design a building that would fit like a bespoke suit.
We started with the internal logistic flow of the necessary components, because at the time there was very little coherency in the process. We devised a new, efficient circuit for the countless parts: from then on, they were loaded in one place, into a paternoster lift in a central location in the building. This lift, a high-tech “chest of drawers”, can be called up from any floor and immediately deliver the requested part. Simply put, we designed the rest of the building around this central lift. Pretty soon, a clear production flow emerged within the building itself: small components start at the top and are processed on their way down in composite modules, which eventually leave the building as complete system units via the ground floor.
The building has no clear front or back and is largely transparent inside and out. This transparency sends a clear message: something special is made here and you are invited to watch! The heart of the building is a large open area for meetings, consultations and coffee. From here, you can see in all directions, including top to bottom. On each floor, the layout allows you to literally move anywhere, offering maximum flexibility. And throughout the entire building, you will only encounter three materials: the clarity of glass, the naturalness of wood and the robustness of concrete, all of which have been used consistently.
In the end, our spatial solutions initiated a total transformation, and EPR received a new structure. This gave way to a clear focus on the company’s core activities: what are we really good at and what do we want to radiate?