Located on the Utrecht Science Park, Accelerator Utrecht is a ‘future proof’ office building with laboratories. Designed by architecture firm cepezed, its exterior combines glass with an aluminium composite in a flexible façade concept. The interior features an extensive use of wood and a plant wall climbing up a dramatic atrium.
Volumetrically the project includes a broad 5-storey volume with a narrow tower at the end of the volume. The tower and low-rise are clad in Alucobond (aluminium composite) panels. Modular in nature, the sections of the façade are easy to de-and remount in order to hoist in and out laboratory equipment that does not fit through corridors. The panels are interrupted at the ends of the building, the atrium, the elevator shaft, and the 2-storey high corporate living rooms with wide, vertical glass track which, along with curtain walling on the ground and first floors of the tower, provides generous daylight to the offices and laboratories.
Large construction spans with limited need for columns allow for the floor to be arranged flexibility and thus allows for future configurations. The main loadbearing structure comprises prefabricated steel framework and hollow-core slab elements with a span of 16,2 meters. The structural and installation pattern is at 1,8 m; intervals at which internal walls and all technical connections are therefore placed. Columns are located every 5,4 meters, in line the modules of the façade and along with the atrium, which itself has an open floor plan measuring 16,2 by 64,80 meters.
The flexibility of the layout also applies to the laboratories which are located on the north side of the site to minimize temperature fluctuation. For required connections to liquid nitrogen and various gases (CO2, O2, N2, vacuum, compressed air), liquids (demineralized water, process cooling water, drinking water) and air extraction, the smallest workable laboratory space was taken as the starting point. Equipment is sub metered to this minimal rental unit.
A public restaurant is located on the first floor of Accelerator.
In addition there is an auditorium for 250 people, as well as meet-and-greet facilities and meeting rooms. From the ground floor, the atrium provides views of the galleries that access the business spaces on the floors above while the feature plant wall is located against the shaft of the cargo elevator.
Common areas are carefully finished and look elegant with a combination of glass, white coated steel, parquet floors, and wooden slatted ceilings. In the bright stairwell of the low-rise, the parquet continues up the steps, inviting occupants to take the stairs.
Sustainable building technologies are present throughout – though not always visible. All floors include ‘climate ceilings’ which provide comfortable energy transfer of both heating and cooling. The ceilings benefit acoustics and include high-quality LED lighting. On the roof of the low-rise building there are 420 solar panels, providing 168 kWatts of electrical energy. Heating and cooling is provided with heat pumps, eliminating the need for gas connection, and the buildings equipped with thermal energy storage. Alongside this, an efficient use of materials in combination with the above elements earned the building a BREEAM-Excellent certification