Tech Plaza, Arnhem
With educational landscapes continuously being modified, a shifting job market and an ever-fluctuating number of students, a modern-day educational building needs to be able to absorb changes easily and swiftly. With that in mind, the Arnhem-based Rijn IJssel College was on the look out for new accommodation for their Faculty of Technical & ICT Studies. EHA transformed Akzo Nobel’s former C1 lab into a technical college that exudes technique.
Name Tech Plaza
Program ROC Techniek & ICT
Client Rijn IJssel
Awards & Nominations Nominated for the Heuvelinkprijs 2022
Architect Ector Hoogstad Architects in cooperation with OostWest
Building physics, fire safety and accoustics DGMR
Construction Pieters Bouwtechniek
Construction management Hoogland Vastgoedadvies
Contractor Binx Smartility
Interior architect DP6
Installations consultant Huisman & Van Muijen
Photography Petra Appelhof
Seamlessly integrating the existing laboratory into the new housing was leading in designing Tech Plaza. By keeping the existing façade, the original building determined the architectural outlines of the new construction. A conscious decision was made to not create an opposing aesthetic, but rather to compose a cohesive circulair design between existing and new construction.
Tech Plaza, located on the EnkaCampus, is home to a variety of studies ranging from installation and electrical engineering to metal, construction, lab technique, ICT and mobility (vehicles and bicycles). This created a need for not just one type of classroom but a variety of facilities such as workshops, labs and study halls. By placing the workshops on the ground floor and by giving the building a transparent façade education is made visible to both the accidental passerby as well as the fellow student.
A coiling staircase as social hub
Similar to the existing C1 lab, the new construction has clearly defined layers dedicated to the plinth, floors and installations each with their own measurements, layout and materialization. A coordinating palette of materials with an industrial feel increases the sense of cohesion.
When entering Tech Plaza the large coiling staircase is immediately identifiable as the social heart of the building. Naturally, it connects the different floors and educational clusters, but also serves as an open invitation to exercise, meet, hang-out and exchange information. The open diagonal sightlines and spaces allow for clear views throughout. Combined with ample daylight, natural materialization and the combination of varying heights Tech Plaza has become a learning environment that is a pleasure to be in. And by placing the various installations inside the workshops instead of in the central installation room, they are easily accessible to the students and the building becomes a tool for teaching these future engineers.
The interior design consists of similarly coordinating materials and colors. Throughout Tech Plaza we find floors in different shades of grey, concrete and steel construction, white glass walls and views of metal installations. By contrast, the main connector, the coiling staircase, is made out of wood. Inside, the individual volumes remain easily recognizable by using the same materials that were used in the façade and by visually bringing the outside in the connection to the campus remains strong.