The integrated architectural concept of the Life Sciences Incubator (LSI) at Utrecht Science Park has resulted in a BREEAM-NL “Outstanding” design certificate. The LSI is the first laboratory building in The Netherlands to achieve this rating. Mecanoo together with GiesbersWijchen have found the optimal balance between highly advanced building services technologies and basic architectural principles to supersede the ambitions of the University of Utrecht, the client.
Scheduled to be completed at the end of 2015, the LSI will be a high-quality, accessible, flexible and moreover ‘healthy’ building for start-ups in the bioscience field and will consist of both laboratories and offices. Throughout the integrated design process, the team has consistently evaluated the impact of each decision on quality and user experience. The future value to the owner, users and the environment has been measured in life cycle costs. The result is a building in which architectural aesthetics, technical structural solutions, and sustainable qualities are intertwined.
The distinctive angled facade is an innovative design solution that provides the basis for the energy concept, whilst giving the building a recognisable profile and very spacious interior. The tilted triple glazed window panes act as a natural sun and heat protector. The facade is built up of panels combining glazing with recyclable composite material. The seamless construction prevents water and dirt from sticking to the facade, making it exceptionally durable and low-maintenance.
Skylights in the roof flood the atrium with natural light, resulting in a welcoming central area. Walkways and staircases zigzag through the atrium, forming shortcuts between different departments. Meeting spaces situated where walkways meet promote collaboration between users of the incubator. This dynamic use of space gives the atrium a strong identity.Based on a highly rational grid, the LSI can be adapted to meet the needs of users as they change over time, for instance when successful start-ups require more space. As such, the building has been designed for unpredictable change.
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