An experiment with colour

28 Oct 2011

Green theme for cutting-edge physics research centre in Amsterdam

AMOLF, an institute for fundamental research into physics, is situated on the edge of Sciencepark Watergraafsmeer in East Amsterdam. It consists of three parallel components: a narrow office wing, a central volume with laboratories for experiments and a section with workshops.

The three components are separated by two inner corridors that physically isolate the vibration-sensitive laboratories from the other buildings. These 12-metre-high inner corridors make it possible to introduce large-scale equipment at any point to the stacked laboratories on either side. The central building is interrupted by a central hall that connects the two corridors, as well as connecting the two floors by means of large staircases. Walkways pass over the inner corridors to create circuits on the different levels.

The facades are a literal reflection of the structural concrete shell and are made of green concrete. Differences in colour and texture, achieved by polishing the elements to different degrees, give the building a gradated appearance. The variation in colour and texture is enhanced by the position of glazed piers here and there.

The office corridors are finished in bamboo lathwork. The central area possesses a strong character of its own that is reinforced by a wall finish of perforated green panels.

The interior streets and the open space between them are spanned by tall laminated timber beams supported by the concrete structure of the office wings.

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