Disciplines, departments, research teams, specialisms –they cannot flourish in isolation. Space is needed for sharing knowledge, interdisciplinary collaborations, spontaneous conversations and unexpected encounters. Connecting people and their environment is what we do best, so we were excited about Wageningen University’s assignment: design a new teaching and research building for the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG) to accommodate eight different academic departments.
Wageningen University is the fastest growing university in the Netherlands. The new campus, which is part of De Borne masterplan, was our “playing field”. There was limited space available for the building and a strict budget. Thus, we came up with a clear story and approach.
The new Helix building takes its name from the helix structure of our DNA. The connectivity and spaciousness of the helix shape can be felt the moment you enter the building. There are four high atriums on different levels, which rotate around a central core, each one receiving ample daylight. The atriums contain inviting meeting and conference rooms, as well as areas for a break or a quick chat. They are pleasant, bright, connecting spaces, surrounded at every level by the laboratories and office areas of one or more departments.