Architecture People & Places


Diederendirrix Architects in Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Caption. Photo: Arthur Bagen

A major reskinning and renovation project on the campus of Eindhoven Technical University (TU/e) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, converted a derelict boiler plant into the inviting and energy-efficient home of the school's Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS). Once clad in brick, Boiler House Ceres now has a predominantly glazed curtain wall that connects the two-story building with the surrounding campus.

Diederendirrix Architects designed the transformation, which preserved the building's steel structure, central light monitor, and other industrial details including a large sliding door, even as the building's envelope and systems were substantially upgraded. The building is the 2013 recipient of the annual Royal Institute of Dutch Architects Building of the Year award.

The central light monitor now encloses a central atrium and circulation space. Photo: Arthur Bagen

The jury is particularly impressed by the fact that although the redevelopment of the industrial building into a pleasant, bright work space for people was undisputedly a major achievement, one hardly sees any evidence of this.

"In a stunning, understated, intelligent and extremely effective way diederendirrix architects brought the decrepit Boiler House Ceres back to life. In their design diederendirrix exposes, in their distinct, modest way, the beauty of the existing. Architecture is not just about making. Also non-making is a sign of greatness."

Preserved smokestack and elevated storage tower. Photo: Arthur Bagen

Inside, a new intermediate floor was built with sensitivity to the original steel structure, the existing space, and the campus color palette.  By tying into an existing skywalk system and relocating the main entrance, the Boiler House also fits in with the campus circulation scheme. Two freestanding elements of the original boiler house – a tall red brick smokestack and a metal elevated storage tank, now integral with the skywalk – were preserved.

Project Details

  • Client: Real Estate Management of the TU Eindhoven
  • Architect: Diederendirrix Architects
  • Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  • Floors: 2
  • Energy Use Intensity: Not available

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