The Why Factory Tribune
Several weeks after the Why factory – a newly established research institute, lead by MVRDV and the Technical University Delft – had moved into their new residence in the top of the Faculty Building of the Technical University, the building was destroyed by a fire on May 12, 2008.
Due to the economical crisis elsewhere in Delft closer to the center a building became available that originally would be developed by Fortis Bank into luxurious apartments. The monumental building – the former head quarter of the TU, was made ready to accommodate the faculty for the coming five years.
Since the building was too small to accommodate the whole faculty, a temporary extension needed to be added for which MVRDV designed several plans. Starting point was the wish to give the separate institutes and departments within the faculty a more recognizable identity. The burned down building in essence was an office building – a grey monolith in which the various institutes such as the Delft School of Design were hiding in anonymity. The temporary building offered the opportunity to make these institutes more visible. The plans contained amongst others the division/parceling out/distribution of pavilions through the building and an addition of a recognizable extension to the characteristic tower.
After some economizing, it was decided to keep the plan simple/straightforward and to cover two inner courtyards – a plan executed by Mick Eekhout, who created two light conservatories of steel and glass. Because of the very limited budget The Why Factory needed to be accommodated in one of the conservatories. MVRDV made the design for this.
The east conservatory became the new residence of The Why Factory. Surrounded by the glass and steel of Eekhout and the monumental facades of the original building, the institute clearly distinguishes itself by its bright orange color. This strong color was chosen to emphasis the independent status of The Why Factory within the TU Delft. For the Netherlands this is a relatively new experiment, but it has already proven itself abroad: the Media Lab for instance became a very respected independent institute within the walls and organization of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Because the wooden construction of the Tribune where the office and the meeting rooms are situated is painted in the same color, the institute becomes one element within the space.
The ground floor of the tribune contains a conference room and a room for lecturing. On the first floor the offices of the scientific collaborators are situated and on top there is another meeting room. The interior is kept work friendly white and for the same reasons the furniture outside of the Tribune are kept black. The door openings are kept large, so that the interior of the tribune also legally / regulation like is part of the interior and no additional air-conditioning was needed. Next to lectures and film projections, the tribune can also be used as informal work places. This is facilitated by a strong wifi-network and sockets at the seats. The conical tapered form of the Tribune allows for more work spots on the balconies, which is practical in times of deadlines and crowds.
To offer an alternative to the so called Blokkenhal from the old building, it was aimed to design the furniture to be versatile and flexible in use. The space needed to be fit for studying, working, meeting, model building and storage, film projections, exhibitions and of course parties and events.
The work places for students are specially designed for the building by Richard Hutten Studio.
In the space eight model tables found its place, where students can build models. Underneath the table space is created to store the models. The model tables are on wheels so they can easily put aside to make place for a presentation or a happening in front of the Tribune. The tables are also ideal for exhibition display.
In the upper meeting room of The Tribune is a stackable meeting table, also designed by Richard Hutten Studio. When meeting with a smaller group, the tables are on top of each other, thus creating more space around the table. The tables are made out of polystyrene to keep them light and allow moving them around and stacking them easily. The polystyrene is coated with resin – partly transparent, but mostly black. In the upper table also lighting is integrated. By placing the tables next to each other, a larger group of people can have a meeting.
The project clearly gives The Why Factory a distinct identity within the larger faculty complex and puts the students first: they are literally studying on top of their mentors. The orange (flooring / ground floor/space) is their territory.
The Why Factory:
The Why Factory (T?F) is a global think-tank and research institute, run by MVRDV and Delft University of Technology and led by professor Winy Maas. It explores possibilities for the development of our cities by focusing on the production of models and visualisations for cities of the future.
Education and research of The Why Factory are combined in a research lab and platform that aims to analyse, theorise and construct future cities. The Why Factory investigates within the given world and produces future scenarios beyond it; from universal to specific and global to local. It proposes, constructs and envisions hypothetical societies and cities; from science to fiction and vice versa. The Why Factory thus acts as a future world scenario making machinery.
We want to engage in a public debate on architecture and urbanism. The Why Factory’s findings are therefore communicated to a broad public in a variety of ways, including exhibitions, publications, workshops, and panel discussions.
Project name: The Why Factory Tribune
Location: Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft, Netherlands
Coordinates: 52.006145, 4.371027
Type: Educational Center Interior
Site area: 950 m2
Surface area: 370 m2 Tribune and 195 m2 orange floor
Design start: 08/2008
Construction start: 03/2009
Construction budget: 390,000 Euros
Client / Owner / Developer: TU Delft
Architects: MVRDV – Achterklooster 7, 3011 RA Rotterdam, Netherlands
Project team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Anton Wubben, Riccardo Ferrari, Simon Potier, Jonas Klock and Diana Lopez
Engineering: Braaksma&Roos Architectenbureau
Contractor: Meesterbouw BV
Interior: Meesterbouw BV
Furniture: Richard Hutten
Electrical Installations: E.T.A.B. de Vest
Installations: Cofely West Utiliteit BV
Lighting: Henk van der Geest
Floor finishes: Cem Plaat BV
Loose furniture (chairs etc.): Vitra, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Text Description: © Courtesy of MVRDV
Images: © Rob ‘t Hart