Botanical Laboratory and Library

Wageningen, Netherlands

Architecture, Office / Research

Size: 5,375 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 1986
Project Realisation: 1990 - 1992
Address: Landbouw Universiteit, Arboretumlaan 4, Wageningen, the Netherlands
Client: Rijksgebouwendienst Directie Oost voor de Landbouw Universiteit Wageningen

Programme: 4675 m2 botanical laboratory building and 700 m2 library for Wageningen University

Mecanoo’s substantial addition to the university complex provides shared accommodation for three botanical departments at Wageningen University. The most eye-catching element is the new, curved laboratory building. The building’s backbone is formed by a corridor running its entire length, emerging at both ends in the form of attractive, elegant emergency staircases.

The laboratories are located on the side of the Arboretum, behind a white, plastered facade with large windows. The brick facade, on the other side, blends in well with the existing buildings and forms a contrasting style in this design. The library building is vital to the new image of the botany complex on the Arboretumlaan. 

The building’s appearance is related to the existing villa-like structures in the area. The south and west facades are made of wood and glass and have an aluminium canopy, opening the library up to the forecourt of the complex.

The building consists of two storeys and a basement. With the exception of the reception desk on the ground floor and the librarian’s room on the first, the library is a single, continuous space. Two steel staircases in the heart of the building create better internal access and form the building’s spatial and visual centre.

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