Yesterday, Thursday September 8th 2016, the Yes!Delft Labs premises at Science Park Technopolis were officially opened. The incubator building with laboratory facilities for young and innovative high-tech enterprises is directly related to the Delft Technical University and was realized within the framework of a Design & Build-assignment by a cooperation between contractor Cordeel Netherlands, developer cepezedprojects and cepezed architects, the latter of which designed the construction. Before, on a nearby plot highly visible from the A13 motorway, the same cooperation already realized the new headquarters of the 3M technology concern, which was taken into use two years ago.
Yes!Delft Labs functions as an expansion of the Yes!Delft collective company building that has been operational since 2005. With a positioning high in the top ten of the European University Business Incubators-index, the existing facilities were in urgent need of more capacity though. Also, there was an increasing demand for biotechnical facilities. In order to provide for both, the Technical University joined forces with the Delft municipality, the Province of South Holland and the European Union.
YES!Delft Labs measures some 5.500 m2 and houses a programme of laboratories, offices and limited shared facilities such as pantries, meeting rooms and a ‘shared facility lab’ with laboratory conveniences to be used communally. At street level, the block is connected to the previous YES!Delft-building, where additional shared facilities such as a restaurant are housed.
The new building is characterized by an austere, rectangular and horizontally articulated volume. On the entrance side, the volume is differentiated by two large voids at distance from each other, in which the stairs are situated. The voids directly adjoin the shared facilities and particularize the strictly functional stacking of storeys. They also provide airiness and spatial variety. Additionally, the transparent façades of the voids make that natural light enters deep into the building and hallways. They also provide for good view and orientation. Because the façades are somewhat receded, they lend the building an interesting visual marking and accent. At street level, the receding void façade functions as a clearly recognizable entrance zone, while the bottom of the upper void holds a small loggia. The floor surface of the voids can be used communally for informal meetings, but because of their positioning right next to the facility zone with shared functions, they can also buffer peak use of the meeting rooms. The areas around the stairs and pantries function as animated sites for interaction, informal consult and unplanned meetings.
The offices and laboratories are characterized by a high degree of flexibility and integrality. They are positioned at both sides of a central hallway and are easily transformable into each other. The main piping circuits are integrated into the floor system, which considerably reduces the overall storey height and eliminates the need for additional facilities such as a fire brigade elevator or intermediate landings in the stair structure, thus strongly saving on costs and optimizing efficiency.