Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory / DHV Architects

© Rene de Wit

Architects: DHV Architects
Location: Delft, The Netherlands
Principal Architect: Robert Collignon
Client: TNO Finance & Real Estate
Structural Engineer: DHV B.V.
Building Physics: DHV B.V.
Mechanical, electronic and control systems: Deerns B.V.
Contractor: Heijmans (Civil), Burgers Ergon (Utilities)
Project Area: 10,300 sqm GFA of which 5,600 sqm GFA laboratories
Project Year: 2004–2009
Photographs: Rene de Wit & Koos Rensen (only IMG_9257.jpg)

The Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory is an advanced research facility for nanotechnology. It is unique in being the only laboratory where a national research organization and a leading technology university join forces to create the extraordinary. This state-of-the-art facility is the result of decades of pioneering research by TNO and TU Delft. Whether it is science, education, R&D or business opportunities: Delft is at the heart of nanotechnology innovations worldwide.

Industrial buildings are characterized by a pragmatic and process-driven configuration. Unlike schools, theaters and libraries it’s not the user-experience but the industrial process which is leading. Form follows function.

first floor plan
second floor plan

Progressive and very complex research places extremely high demands on the building. The underlying principle of the architectonic design was to once again place humans in a central position. The focus thus lies on communication between the building’s users, but also on (visual) communication with the outside world – the atrium plays an important role in this. It forms an interface between the clean rooms (machine) and users. The atrium is suitable for meetings and stimulates an exchange of knowledge.

© Rene de Wit
© Rene de Wit

Because the building is occupied around the clock, at night it acts as a beacon for its surroundings. The main corridors adjoin the outer facades in such a way that the scientists become visible from the campus and the daylight and heat load of the cleanrooms can be regulated more efficiently.
The colored perforations in the building’s façade provide insight into the technology of the future, from within the building they serve as guiding points for the technical staff.

Products in this project

Construction materials, Semi-finished materials: Saint Gobain

  • Glass: COOL-LITE by Saint Gobain

Facades: Hunter Douglas Contract

Floor: Bolidt, Mosa , Noraplan Logic

  • Epoxy Flooring: Bolidtop 525 by Bolidt
  • Tiles: Colors Collection by Mosa
  • Rubber Flooring by Noraplan Logic

Joinery: VT Industries

  • Wood doors by VT Industries

Lighting, Heating, Home/building automation: Se’lux

  • Lightrail: M-Cassettes by Se’lux
  • Lighting columns: Hollow Lightstack by Se’lux

Mobile Partitions/Suspended Ceilings/Raised Floors: GKB Gyproc

  • Sheetrock walls & ceiling by GKB Gyproc

Structures: Jansen Viss, Schüko

  • Steel frames by Jansen Viss
  • Aluminum frames: S65.HI by Schüko
Cite: "Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory / DHV Architects" 29 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Nicholas Patten

    Nicely Designed: Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory.

  • sudark

    The colorful and playful punched windows seem out of phase with the general concept and feel of the building. It is too weak to be a counterpoint to the stark and sleek nature of the rest of the design and is consequently overpowered by it. Aside from that, it is quite a well done building.