Circular Cube Tilburg University Lecture Hall, Netherlands Public Architecture, Dutch Building Development Images

Circular Cube Building at Tilburg University

19 Jan 2022

Architect: Powerhouse Company

Location: Tilburg, The Netherlands

Circular Cube, Tilburg University Lecture Hall

Powerhouse Company has completed its design for A Circular Cube, the Netherlands’ first mass timber university building. The new energy-neutral building for Tilburg University sits on a small footprint of 33 x 33 meters, and contains 14 lecture rooms, selfstudy areas and a foyer. Set within a wooded landscape, the lecture hall’s timeless form echoes the existing Modernist structures on the campus.

Circular Cube, Tilburg University Lecture Hall

Circular Cube Building, Holland

‘Together with our client, we upped our ambition during the design process resulting in a carbon neutral, completely circular, and BREEAM Outstanding design.’
– Janneke van der Velden, Associate Architect at Powerhouse Company

Circular Cube, Tilburg University Lecture Hall Circular Cube, Tilburg University Lecture Hall

Triumph in Timber
With its predominantly cross-laminated timber structure, the lecture hall is a fully circular pioneer in academic architecture. Tackling significant design challenges, the wooden rib floors span a groundbreaking 9 meters, while meeting the complex demands required by an educational building. The dry construction system employs 4.6 kilometers of timber beams that are demountable for future reuse. Additionally, hanging the limestone façade panels, rather than gluing them, allows the stone to be recycled too.

‘Our details look simple and self-evident, but pioneering the technical junctions in collaboration with different disciplines was a challenge. This untrodden road was inspiring and taught us a lot.’
– Romano van den Dool, BIM Engineer at Powerhouse Company

Circular Cube Tilburg University

A New Cube in a Modernist Family
The new lecture hall’s design is inspired by the first structure on the campus: Jos. Bedaux’s 1962 Cobbenhagen building, now a listed monument. Bedaux reflected the university’s Catholic roots with a design that gives a Modernist twist to monastic architecture. Powerhouse Company’s design adapts Bedaux’s monumental simplicity with a limestone facade, rhythmic window placement and a close relationship between the interior spaces and the surrounding nature. The result is a building that, with its mellow stone facade and rootedness in the woodland setting, appears as though it has always been there.

‘The lecture hall is a timeless and sustainable addition to the campus architecture of Tilburg University. It breathes the atmosphere of the library and the monastery, in line with the original Modernist buildings.’
– Stefan Prins, Partner Architect at Powerhouse Company

Circular Cube Tilburg University Circular Cube Tilburg University

A Contemplative Calm
Inside, as with the Cobbenhagen building, the fixtures and furniture are intrinsic parts of the design. A natural palette is used throughout – wood, stone, and plaster – from the lofty sculptural space of the lecture hall, to intimate window niches. Besides the exposed structural timber, simple wooden tables, benches, and cruciform reading lamps exude a sense of serenity and calm. Expansive windows allow natural light to flood the space while playfully capturing a range of views, some unexpected – the sky, a single tree, or people walking to the campus.

‘As part of a masterplan, designed to restore the original character of the campus, our building heightens the appreciation of the existing architecture on the site.’
– Antónia Pohanková, former Architect at Powerhouse Company

Four Faces for a Campus Hub
We looked at the various characteristics of the site surrounding our building – forest, parkland, accommodation, and the main route to the train station serving the campus – and designed four facades responding to these different features. All four sides of the building connect via footpaths, views and sightlines to different parts of the site: Each side has different detailing and window distribution reflecting its orientation.

Circular Cube Tilburg University Hollands’ first mass timber university building

Educational Ensemble
The building will be an addition to Powerhouse Company’s growing educational portfolio, including its pavilion for Erasmus University Rotterdam (with De Zwarte Hond) and its Jakoba Mulderhuis in Amsterdam (with Marc Koehler Architects and Architecten Cie), the new gateway to the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences campus, currently under construction.

About Powerhouse Company
Powerhouse Company is an award-winning architecture office based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Founded in 2005, it has grown into a multidisciplinary office of around 100 professionals, with international studios in Rotterdam, Beijing, Oslo and Munich. Prizes include the Dutch Design Award, the Maaskant Prize and the AM/NAI Award.

Tilburg University Lecture Hall

Circular Cube Building at Tilburg University, Holland – Building Information

Architects: Powerhouse Company – https://www.powerhouse-company.com/
Status: In design
Timeline: 2019 – present
Client: Tilburg University
Size: 5 000 sqm
City: Tilburg
Country: The Netherlands
Typology: Education
Budget: Confidential

Circular Cube Tilburg University

Collaborators
Landscape architect: EDM Tuin en Landschap
Stedenbouw: Studio Hartzema
Installation’s advisor: Royal Haskoning DHV
Building physics advisor: Royal Haskoning DHV
Contractor: Koninklijke BAM Groep
Constructor: BREED Integrated Design
Geotechnical advisor: Inpijn Blokpoel
Sustainability advisor: Rienks Bouwmanagement
Mobility advisor: Royal Haskoning DHV
Financial advisor: Multibouwadvies
Model: Studio Abstract, Powerhouse Company
Photography: Frans Parthesius (model)

Team
Leading Partner: Stefan Prins
Projectleader: Janneke van der Velden
Projectteam: Iván Guerrero Jimenez, Antónia Pohanková, Romano van den Dool, Martijn Ravia, Michiel Bosch, Sanja Kralj, Robert Cuijpers, Bjørn Andreassen, Erwin van Strien, Gert Ververs, Rafael Zarza García, Giovanni Andrea Coni and Jugoslav Stankin

Circular Cube, Tilburg University Lecture Hall

Images: Powerhouse Company

Circular Cube Building at Tilburg University images / information received 190122 from Powerhouse Company Architects, NL

Location: Tilburg, Netherlands

Architecture in The Netherlands

Contemporary Dutch Architecture

Netherlands Architecture Designs – chronological list

Dutch Architecture News

Amsterdam Architecture Walking Tours by e-architect

Dutch Architect – design firm listings

Cartesiusdriehoek Blue District, Utrecht
Architects: Mecanoo architecten
Cartesiusdriehoek Blue District in Utrecht
image courtesy of architecture office
Cartesiusdriehoek Blue District Utrecht

Moreelsebrug Utrecht, Utrecht
Architects: cepezed
Moreelsebrug Utrecht
photos © Jannes Linders cepezed
Moreelsebrug Utrecht by cepezed

Eurojust, Den Haag
Eurojust Den Haag
photo from architects office
Eurojust Den Haag

Dutch Architects

Dutch Architecture

Comments / photos for the Circular Cube Building at Tilburg University designed by Powerhouse Company page welcome