The Why Factory Tribune

MVRDV as Architects

Several weeks after The Why Factory – a newly established research institute, lead by MVRDV and the Technical University Delft - had moved into their new residence on the top floor of the Faculty Building of the Technical University, the building was destroyed by a fire on May 12, 2008.


Due to the economic crisis, a building closer to the city center of Delft became available that originally would have been developed by Fortis Bank into luxurious apartments. The monumental building – the former headquarters of the TU, was made ready to accommodate the faculty for the coming five years.


Since the building was too small to accommodate the whole faculty, a temporary extension needed to be added for which MVRDV designed several schemes. Starting point was the wish to give the separate institutes and departments within the faculty a more recognizable identity. The destroyed building in its essence was an office building – a grey monolith in which the various institutes such as the Delft School of Design were hidden in anonymity. The temporary building offered the opportunity to make these institutes more visible. The proposals included the distribution of pavilions inside the building and an addition of a recognizable extension to the characteristic tower.


After some economizing, it was decided to keep the plan straightforward and to cover two inner courtyards – a plan executed by Mick Eekhout, who created two light conservatories of steel and glass. Because of the very limited budget The Why Factory needed to be accommodated in one of the conservatories. MVRDV made the design for this.


The eastern conservatory became the new residence of The Why Factory. Surrounded by the glass and steel structure of Eekhout and the original facades of the monumental building, the institute clearly distinguishes itself by its bright orange color. This strong color was chosen to emphasis the independent status of The Why Factory within the TU Delft. For the Netherlands this is a relatively new experiment, but it has already proven itself abroad: the Media Lab for instance became a very respected independent institute within the walls and organization of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Because the wooden construction of the Tribune which accommodates the office and meeting rooms, is painted in the same color, the institute becomes one element within the space.


The ground floor of the tribune provides for a conference room and a room for lecturing. On the first floor the offices of the scientific collaborators are situated, and on the top floor there is another meeting room. The interior is kept work friendly white and for the same reasons the furniture outside of the Tribune are kept black. The door openings are larger than standard doors, so that, with regards to the building regulations, the interior of the tribune also legally counts as part of the conservatory’s interior and no additional air-conditioning was needed. Next to lectures and film projections, the tribune can also be used as an informal work place. This is facilitated by a strong wifi-network and sockets at the seats. The conical tapered form of the Tribune allows for more work spots on the balconies, which is practical in times of deadlines and crowds.


To offer an alternative to the so called Blokkenhal of the old building, the aim was for the furniture to be versatile and flexible in use. The space needed to be able to adapt to various uses: studying, working, meeting, model building and storage, film projections, exhibitions and of course parties and events.


The work places for students are specifically designed for the building by Richard Hutten Studio. Eight tables for making models are distributed in the open space. Extra shelving underneath the tables allows for storing the models. The model tables are on wheels so they can easily be put aside to make room for a presentation or an event in front of the Tribune. The tables are also ideal for exhibition display.


In the upper meeting room of The Tribune is a stackable meeting table, also designed by Richard Hutten Studio. When meeting with a smaller group, the tables are on top of each other in order to create more space around the table. The tables are made out of polystyrene to keep them light and allow moving them around and stacking them easily. The polystyrene is coated with resin – partly transparent, but mostly black. The upper table has integrated light fittings. By placing the tables next to each other, a larger group of people can have a meeting.


The project clearly gives The Why Factory a distinct identity within the larger faculty complex and puts the students first: they are literally studying on top of their mentors. The orange (floor space) is their territory.

BK City Faculty of Architecture

Octatube as Manufacturers

Octatube generally produce their space frames in round or rectangular section steel tube, but aluminium, solid timber and even cardboard and bamboo have been successfully used on occasion. The shift in construction philosophy away from a manufacturer-centred and towards a consumer-centred approach has moved the focus from industrial space frame manufacture to special, project-related design. The consequence is that many space frame designs do not fit in with any existing system. A large number of basic systems can certainly be designed, and projects often use a derivative of one of these.


Octatube included a supporting Tuball structure in hot galvanised steel in the South and East conservatory for the faculty of Architecture at the TU Delft. As well as delivering a lightweight structure, the standard Tuball system used also allowed the design & build project to be completed in just three months, despite severe winter weather conditions. The two new atria are constructed against the existing facade of the university’s brick-built former main building on the Julianalaan in Delft, dating from the start of the twentieth century and renovated by Braaksma & Roos Architects of Den Haag. The steel structural elements are optimally protected against corrosion by a hot galvanising process. The South conservatory has a floor area of 1500 m2, the East conservatory is 900 m2. Large-scale activities like the maquette shop and workshops for students are housed in these atria, which provide light and transparency in an otherwise rather enclosed building.


Window frames reused: Sterker

Superuse Studios as Architects

The first time we used the window frames was in the Hague for the exhibition Restructure. At that time a building by Carel Weeber, ‘the Black Madonna’ was dismantled. There had been much discussion about the pros and cons of demolishing this technically sound building. It seemed appropriate to reuse the window frames. They turned out to be a very durable material and useful for exhibitions. Since then the design has been transformed several times.


In Amsterdam we made it into a sound-proofed temporary meeting room for the committee deciding on grants for artists, designers and architects.


Finally the windowframes were used to build the espresso bar for the students and staff of the department of Architecture at the TU-Delft .

BK City Chairs, TU Delft

Kossmann.dejong as Manufacturers

A fire destroyed the building of the Engineering department at the Technical University Delft in 2008. The department’s famous collection of chairs has been homeless ever since. From Tuesday 5 October the historically significant collection has finally been given a place of honour again in the departments building on Julianalaan 134 in Delft. Kosmann.dejong have designed a new display for the collection that consists of some 300 chairs, including ones by Gerrit Rietveld, Marcel Wanders and Chris Kabel. The collection is presented on a large stand, allowing the chairs to be admired from different angles.


Saved from the fire


The rescue of the famous collection of chairs from the fire, which completely destroyed the old Engineering faculty building on 13 May 2008, was at the time overseen by former Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ronald Plasterk. Following the disaster the extraordinary chairs did not find a new home in the new ‘BK City’ for a long time because lack of space and money. Invisible for the public, they remained in storage. The newly designed display has finally given them a new, worthy home.


Study resource and permanent exhibition


The permanent exhibition is located in the foyer near the Engineering library and can be visited without charge throughout the year. The collection of chairs is a study resource for students and scientists at the Technical University Delft.


Looking for the right flooring

Bolidt as Manufacturers

In decorating the interior of the temporary accommodation for the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology, architectural firm Kossmann de Jong Exhibition Architects was co-responsible for the floor finish in the building. Kossman de Jong approached Bolidt for advice on this.


The main focus of this process has been on the quality of the new flooring and on how it is experienced. Since the flooring had to meet a specific desired quality, Bolidt was asked to provide a complete flooring solution for the so-called Street. This resulted in a Bolidtop 525 flooring system. The overall picture of quality and atmosphere has turned out very well. Bolidt, specializing in synthetic (flooring) applications, helps both Dutch and foreign architects in their search for the right flooring. In the Bolidroom, architects can make flooring samples themselves and experiment with them. In doing so, they can carry out endless tests on flooring aspect such as texture, colour, fluidity, flexibility, depth and warmth.


Various projects that started with experiments in the Bolidroom have already been implemented successfully. Architect Jiwei Li visited Bolidt because of his commission to design the floor for the bar area of the Olympic Swimming Pool, the WaterCube. The flooring that was eventually applied came out of the 50 samples, which the Chinese architect took home. For Utrecht University, Bolidt helped architect Joris Lüchinger to create a specific and unique tone of green with flooring samples from the Bolidroom, which was used for flooring in the new building of the Academic Biomedical Cluster. In the renowned Berlin State Library, 20,000 m2 of flooring needed to be renewed. Thanks to his samples from the Bolidroom, the German architect Prof. H.G. Merz arrived at a design that met the requirements of both architect and customer and this.

Products used in this project
Product Specifications
BrandCategoryProducts
Richard Hutten StudioManufacturers
BolidtBolidtManufacturers
Kossmann.dejongKossmann.dejongManufacturers
OctatubeOctatubeManufacturers
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