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Victor J. Koningsberger Building.

Creating knowledge centres for the future TEXT: EVA MENGER  |  PHOTOS: PETRA APPELHOF

Sightlines, traffic flow and parking spaces are all terms typically associated with road design, but they are equally prevalent in architecture. “It’s elements like these that allow us to think practically about the way in which people move through a building, and ultimately, that is how we can create designs that encourage interaction,” Joost Ector, architect and partner at Dutch firm Ector Hoogstad Architecten explains. With their innovative and forwardthinking designs, Ector Hoogstad Architecten is widely known for creating knowledge landscapes that offer space for reflection, collaboration and exploration. This tradition started 60 years ago when architect Jan Hoogstad founded the firm in a post-war Rotterdam. Playing a crucial role in rebuilding the city, Hoogstad set a trend for creating buildings that contribute to a better world. “This idea is still very deeply rooted in our work,” Ector confirms. “In its ability to unite, architecture can encourage people to move forward and build a future together.” 22  |  Issue 68  |  August 2019

Fostering knowledge sharing

A place to stay

Ector: “The layout of our buildings invites people to collaborate and communicate with each other. With sightlines, we create visibility into what people are working on, and by carefully directing traffic flows we make sure that people from different departments make contact. Parking spaces, by which we mean areas where people can casually sit down and chat after they went to a class or bumped into each other, stimulate conversation and knowledge sharing. Features like these will help people rise above themselves, both individually and collectively.”

The University of Utrecht approached Ector Hoogstad Architecten as they were looking to build a new education centre focused on collaboration. “Before the Victor J. Koningsberger building, they didn’t have anywhere for students to connect outside of the classroom,” Ector tells us. The building houses the faculties of geoscience, beta science and medicine and also functions as the university’s main meeting centre. Offering students, teachers and researchers a comfortable and inspiring place to work, the centre has been busy from the moment it opened its doors.

The passion that Ector Hoogstad Architecten has for innovation is visible in all their designs. Their building techniques are state of the art, and the firm is one of the front-runners when it comes to sustainability and circularity. “We’re also used to working on complex projects and like to stay on top of everything we do,” Ector explains. “Working with the latest 3D design tools and other advanced technology allows us to take control and makes us a very reliable partner.”

Central themes in the Victor J. Koningsberger building are light, openness and transparency. A huge central atrium spans the height of the entire building, with spacious steps offering access to each floor and an eye-catching roof letting in warm, evenly distributed light. Its transparent facades give the building an iconic look, but more importantly, allow for sustainable light, heat and energy use.

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Discover Benelux, Issue 68, August 2019  

Discover Benelux promotes Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Our August issue features a candid interview with Dutch actor Fedja van H...

Discover Benelux, Issue 68, August 2019  

Discover Benelux promotes Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Our August issue features a candid interview with Dutch actor Fedja van H...

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