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  • Wageningen
  • Netherlands
  • Architect & Engineers:
    BDG Architecten Ingenieurs Zwolle
  • 2013
  • Client:
    Aeres Groep, Ede
  • Steel processing:
    Jack Muller B.V. (Steel Service Center)
    ZND Nedicom (Engineering and installation facade)
  • Photographer:
    Dirk Verwoerd for ArcelorMittal


  Detail perforated steel sheet
  Product sheet: Granite® HDX

Stoas Vilentum University Wageningen

A green building for a green university: This new construction for Stoas Vilentum University of applied science in agriculture, food,  horticulture, agribusiness and animal science in the Dutch town of Wageningen houses research and teaching facilities. Parts of the facade of the cylindrical volume are made of Granite® HDX coated steel.

The 3-story building, developed by the dutch archtitectural study BDG Architecten Ingenieurs Zwolle, was designed to express “ecological intelligence”, the univeristy's philosophy which refers to the areas of learning and development, human behavior, relationships between man and nature, ecosystems and sustainability and constitute the basis for the training at Stoas. This ecological integelligence, decribed as the nucleus of a holistic, pluralistic, non-linear, coherent, unpredictable, flexible and open -minded approach, rational and non – rational at the same time, is reflected in the new modern university building.

The building's cylindrical shape was chosen deliberately as it stands for non- hierarchical structures. Teachers and students are treated as equals, each floor has essentially the same shape and the same view. Furthermore, the cylinder offers the most favorable ratio of the floor area in relation to the exterior wall surface. The energy loss through the walls is minimal.

The facades are continuously glazed to provide natural light, between the floors horizontally arranged irregularly perforated steel elements envelope the building. These steel elements of different heights define the size of the windows, acting as sun shades by overlapping some of them from above or below in areas where not so much natural light is needed. This way, the steel part of the facade defines the size of the windows in each room, resulting in an irregular pattern of horizontal lines in the building's facade.

The material used for the perforated elements is double sided organic coated steel with Granite® HDX 55mµ paint system. Jack Muller B.V., a steel service center specialised in organic coated steel, decoiled the coils into sheets. These sheets have been formed into the required shape and installed under the supervisión of ZND Nedicom.  ArcelorMittal Flat Carbon Europe supplied a total of 60 tonnes of Granite® HDX coated steel on both sides in the colour RAL 7039.

The advising role of Jack Muller together with ArcelorMittal enabled ZND Nedicom to adapt the best possible solution for the application. Taking into account the requirements of the end user as specified by the architect, the partners in the chain have finally selected this organic coated solution. Early involvement of all possible partners in the chain contributed to the final decision making process.

Cave & Nest – interior spaces
For the internal organization of the school, the starting point were the concepts of the “cave” and the “nest”. Whereas the nest is a very rational space that a bird makes extremely functional and rebuilds each spring, in the non - rational cave the residents comply with the existing space and arrange themselves according to the conditions and needs. The school consists of a combination of functional “nest spaces”, such as labs and offices, and the “cave spaces” in between, the passing areas where the uses are unpredictable.

The construction offers maximum flexibility, the three floors are arranged around a large “void”, a central space covering the total height of the building, with crossing staircases that provide access to all floors. The open structure promotes the interaction between teachers and students.

The building, construction and installations are not opposed to each other, but form a unity with the users. The installations are visible and integrated in a smart way, making the school energy efficient and sustainable. In line with the university's vision of education the design emphasizes on the fact that everything is related and can only be understood in relation with each other.

Architecture & Landscape

Architecture and landscape are intertwined due to the location of the building on a green mound. Therefore, it is situated slighty higher than the rest of the building on the campus, surrounded by slopes of grass. For the perforated exteriors and also on the floors the motif of a mycorrhiza was chosen, a symbiosis between fungi and plant roots with a filamentous structure. The mycorrhiza symbolizes the intelligent connections within a synergy, corresponding to the concept of '”the whole is more than just the sum of its parts”. Incorporated ecological structures can be found in many other parts of the  building.

The Stoas University occupies a prominent place on the campus in Wageningen, which will develop into an ideal environment where learning, working and living together will prosper in the coming years.

Text: BDG Architecten Ingenieurs Zwolle & Constructalia

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