Van Swinden Laboratories

ClientDutch Metrology Institute
CountryThe Netherlands
Scope14,500 m2 GFA
Period2003 - 2005


The building formerly housing the Faculty of Geodesy at Delft University of Technology was commissioned to be renovated to accommodate the laboratories and offices of the Netherlands Institute for Metrology and Technology (NMi) and the Van Swinden Laboratories.


In order to safeguard flexibility, the lab-specific installations have been placed on the first floor, immediately above the laboratories. The main entrance is also found at this level so that logistical flows of public and personnel can be optimally regulated.


Despite, or perhaps even thanks to, the restricted budget and tight planning, the renovation design has remained sustainable. In addition to the fact that renovation is the ultimate form of re-use, maximum use has been made of existing materials. Thus, the existing facade, including framework, was improved instead of replaced, resulting in a more comfortable indoor environment without wasting materials.


The glass casing around the building creates a cavity that is ventilated with a combination of natural ventilation and the venturi effect. This helps to keep the heat out of the building in the summer and prevents heat loss in the winter, which results in a considerable improvements in energy performance. A surprising new area has also been created by placing balconies in the accessible cavity, close to the informal meeting areas.


Robert Collignon

Robert Collignon MArch

Senior Architect

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