How the built environment stimulates

interaction in Areas of Innovation

The strength of Areas of Innovation (science parks, innovation districts and the like) lies in their opportunities for interaction. Intentional and accidental encounters between the ‘residents’ of an Area of Innovation contribute to a climate of innovation and knowledge-sharing, and the layout of buildings, their mutual placement and the creation of meeting spaces all have an important role to play.
During an IASP webinar (the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation), this topic was discussed in detail. In addition to this webinar, this page shows a number of projects that are an example of how the built environment at Areas of Innovation stimulates interaction between people working there.
Arenberg Science Park, Leuven, Belgium © Proof of the sum

Masterplan Arenberg Science Park

Leuven, Belgium / Proof of the sum

The Arenberg Science Park offers next to multifunctional office space and laboratories also support services. The site is 13 hectares and will include in the final stage building four clusters, each offering 25,000 m² of space. Two of these clusters are designed for specialized support and facilities for biotech companies. The other two clusters concentrate on information and communication technology, mechatronics and other high-tech sectors. Several companies, including several spin-offs of the KULeuven have been established in the premises of the science park. Currently, there is already one of the biotech and one of the ICT clusters in use. The second ICT- and mechatronics cluster will soon be built. Proof of the sum developed the master plan for the fourth cluster.

The fourth cluster will house a community building for the entire park (with event spaces, restaurant, etc.), centers for mechatronics, offices, e-health facilities and a parking accomodation. The total construction volume of 34,000 m2 makes the transition between the Koning Boudewijnlaan and the surrounding natural landscape.

Proof of the sum and Arenberg Science Park want to use this master plan to strengthen knowledge sharing, creating networks among entrepreneurs, researchers and education, generating building flexibility and catalysing the surrounding scenic value.

More information: https://proofofthesum.com/portfolio/masterplan-arenberg-science-park-leuven/

Arenberg Science Park, Leuven, Belgium © Proof of the sum

Booking.com © UNStudio

Booking.com Headquarters

The Netherlands, 2015 / UNStudio

This is the Booking.com Headquarters in the city-centre of Amsterdam, currently under construction at the Oosterdokseiland: one of the largest urban projects in Western Europe. The Booking.com campus, placed on the tip of Oosterdokseiland, will become a lively environment where people can meet, inspire, live, work and play. The Booking.com campus is the last sub-plan of Oosterdokseiland and is imagined as a social hub specifically designed to encourage encounters. The current goal is that the area will be in use by the end of 2020.

Through mixed-use facilities designed with a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, the campus creates a positive experience for all users: from the citizens of Amsterdam who use the public space and retail facilities, to the tenants who live in the residential building, to the young Booking.com workforce. Our all-inclusive approach to health encompassed 10 factors that address the differing needs of occupants while also achieving a BREEAM Excellent design certificate. These 10 factors include a considered approach to air circulation, water, nourishment, daylight, physical movement, thermal comfort, sound and materials, as well as a holistic approach mental wellbeing, and strategies to give back to the Amsterdam community.

More information: https://www.unstudio.com/en/page/11733/booking.com-headquarters

Booking.com © UNStudio

Jurong Lake District: © KCAP-SAA-Arup-S333-Lekker

Jurong Lake District

Singapore, 2016 – present / KCAP (masterplanner and landscape designer – lead consultant – in cooperation with SAA Architects, Arup, S333, Lekker)

The Jurong Lake District regional centre in west Singapore will be developed into Singapore’s 2nd Central Business District. The masterplan for the smart, sustainable and future proof district surrounding the future HSR terminus will provide over 4 million m2 GFA and is designed for the flexible long-term evolution of the future economy.
The detailed masterplan for the area has the ambition to develop the area into a new CBD that provides live-work-play amenities and is built around the future Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail terminus. Qualities of the plan are its high-density mixed-use programme which incorporates new waterways and a series of stacked horizontal land-scape datum and connections that weave through the entire district to create a distinctive identity for Singapore and its vision as a ‘City in the Garden’ next to the beautiful Jurong Lake Gardens.
The urban typology maximizes vertical urban greenery within a vertical city concept and creates a streetscape network for active mobility, walkability and interactive public spaces. The integrated, sustainable urban systems maximize the streetscape by proposing to place all major transport (fringe car park hubs and drop-offs) and engineering below the city (common services tunnel), creating layers of optimized infrastructure and a car-lite district. Existing heritage build-ings, landscapes and ecosystems are respected and repurposed in a powerful dialogue with the new development.
With its strategic location, open environment and optimized programming, the area will become a new gateway to Singapore and will serve as the new hub for the nascent science and innovation corridor, setting a new benchmark in Singapore for integrated work, knowledge, leisure and living environments. Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Au-thority (URA) describes the masterplan a “model district of the future” for integrated, smart planning.

More information: https://www.kcap.eu/en/projects/v/jurong_lake_district/

Jurong Lake District: © KCAP-SAA-Arup-S333-Lekker

Cumulus Park, Amsterdam © Karres en Brands

Cumulus Park

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018 – 2019 / Karres en Brands (masterplan, spatial vision)

In the heart of Amsterdam Zuidoost, on the doorstep of Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena train station, the innovation district is being developed across various interconnected buildings. The first buildings will open their doors in January 2020: development of the area will continue until 2024. The district will offer an inspiring mix of meeting spaces, event and workspaces, sport facilities, labs, lecture halls, research facilities and green spaces. 

Karres en Brands is responsible for the overall masterplan and spatial vision of Cumulus Park, in collaboration with Buck Consultants (organizational strategy), and Studio for New Realities (programmatic vision).  At the same time, we are involved in several of the individual projects within the Innovation District, such as the design of the public space of the first building (designed by BNTHMCRWL) as well as the redesign of the Bijlmerdreef into a sustainable boulevard of the future. 

Changing the way we innovate
Cumulus Park brings people and organizations together in a unique community where different disciplines, sectors and backgrounds work on issues of today and tomorrow. Starting with the domains of Digital Identity and Urbanization. To jointly come to new solutions that work for everyone: collaborative innovation creating impact. It will be the place where you meet others who, just like you, want to tackle important challenges. Where you start new projects, share risks and resources and develop new solutions that you could never have achieved on your own. Innovating together, creating impact is the basis of Cumulus Park.

More information: https://www.karresenbrands.com/project/cumulus-park

Cumulus Park, Amsterdam © Karres en Brands

Biology Center University of Vienna © Proof of the sum

Biology Center University of Vienna

Vienna, Austria / Proof of the sum

More than 3000 enthusiastic and inquisitive students and researchers from the extensive field of biology need a special space for their work – a space that communicates! This space should build networks, create synergies and make people curious … curious about the next steps of their education and curious about the next exciting phase in life.

The University Biology Center of Vienna St. Marx is a teaching and learning center for the Faculty of Life Sciences. The building includes a varied room program consisting of premises, laboratories, classrooms, various study possibilities, meeting areas and a cafeteria for students, lecturers and researchers.

The new teaching and research facility offers anspiring and pleasant place of work and meeting. The building is intended to help its users in their search for the exploration and development of new innovation. Innovations can best be achieved through interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. This exchange and it takes place by staging the expected and unexpected encounters. This will arise between different research fields, between researchers and students, visitors and everyday users. This ambition of knowledge exchange embodies the essence of the design concept.

More information: https://proofofthesum.com/portfolio/biology-center-university-of-vienna/

Biology Center University of Vienna © Proof of the sum

Fellenoord – Eindhoven NL © KCAP

Fellenoord – Eindhoven NL

The Netherlands, 2021 / KCAP (masterplanner and supervisor)

Fellenoord Eindhoven / Internationale Knoop XL by KCAP will be the future heart of Brainport Eindhoven, a business card that underlines the international role of Eindhoven with its strategic position and industry. The masterplan provides a station precinct as mixed inner-city innovation district that welcomes residents and visitors alike with an exceptional mobility hub and an outstanding quality of stay.

The station area plays a crucial role in the growth of the city. “A well-thought-out plan for a complicated area” is how Yearbook Landscape Architecture and Urban Design 2020 described KCAP’s urban vision for the development of Fellenoord, the northern part of the city’s transportation node. The plan will transform the approximately 55-hectare railway zone into an attractive setting with a multimodal transport hub including a new bus station, 6500-7500 new homes and companies in the technology, design and knowledge sectors. The vision is based on interactive green environments for the new economy, bringing together various ambitions and themes regarding sustainability: climate, energy, and circularity. The goal is to make Fellenoord climate-proof and energy-neutral, providing 100% energy from sustainable sources, and using new circular concepts for building materials.

A unique feature of the area is the landscape on both sides of the river Dommel. The local identity will be strengthened by the extensive vegetation of the area and new green and blue structures. The green banks of the Dommel will serve as an urban recreational area, stimulating the much-needed interaction in Areas of Innovation.

As Frank Werner says: “This major station area development will bridge barriers and reconnect all parts of the city to its heart. It will be the motor of 21st century Eindhoven.”

More information: https://www.kcap.eu/en/projects/v/fellenoord/

Fellenoord – Eindhoven © KCAP

Plus Ultra II, Wageningen, The Netherlands © Proof of the sum

Plus Ultra II

Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2021 / Proof of the sum

“Plus Ultra” was put into use at the end of 2015 on Wageningen Campus. This building, developed and operated by Kadans Science Partner, offers space for starting, growing and established companies and organizations in the world of agro, food, biobased, healthy lifestyle and living environment. With a diverse range of offices, laboratories, pilothalls, meeting rooms and meeting places, Plus Ultra facilitates the formation of a strong community between all ‘residents’ of the building, centrally on Wageningen Campus. Companies and organizations want to become part of this community on Wageningen Campus. So much so that Plus Ultra is currently fully let out and with it the need for extra space for an even larger community has arisen. In addition, Wageningen University, StartLife and its partners have asked to create a permanent space for the student incubator (StartHub), early phase startups and Technostarters. Finally, the wish was expressed to host future student challenges in and around the Plus Ultra community. Kadans Science Partner would like to offer space to all these entrepreneurs and initiatives to further build on the strong community around the domains in which Wageningen University & Research is active.

Kadans has therefore taken the initiative to develop a new multi-company building “Plus Ultra II” in addition to (and connected to) the existing Plus Ultra. In this multi-storey business building with more than 11,000 m2 there is room for both starting, growing and established companies and organizations, where each party contributes and contributes to the community. Plus Ultra II will bring together a large group of entrepreneurial companies, start-ups and student challenges around food, agriculture, sustainability and health. The place for this community will contribute to knowledge sharing, synergy and communication. Plus Ultra II gets a beating heart.

The fixed elements of Plus Ultra II such as lifts, flight staircases and technical shafts are positioned on the darkest parts of the floor plan so that they have a minimal disruptive effect. The common elements such as meeting rooms, open staircases and coffee facilities are positioned centrally in the building. This creates a beating heart as a connecting element between the two atria. Logistic access is provided around both atria, giving freely access to office and laboratory floors.

More information: https://proofofthesum.com/portfolio/plus-ultra-wageningen-2/

Plus Ultra II, Wageningen, The Netherlands © Proof of the sum

Echo, TU Delft – The Netherlands © UNStudio

Echo, TU Delft

The Netherlands, 2017 / UNStudio

Designed to meet the Delft University of Technology’s need for versatile extra teaching space, Echo is a new inter-faculty building that transcends current learning environments.

This additional building for TU Delft will house seven new teaching rooms, many of which can be divided into separate spaces to reflect the diversity of education methods and study styles. Each of these teaching rooms have been designed based on the current and future needs of the lecturers and students at this leading Dutch university, enabling maximum flexibility for the constantly changing world of learning.

Designed to be a future-proof and active campus, Echo not only connects with the surrounding public space, it also defines it.

he Echo building will sit in a central location on the TU Delft campus. Positioned in its Stevin area, Echo will be adjacent to the renovated building used by the Mathematics and Computer Science departments of the EEMCS faculty. The Stieltjesweg student accommodation is just north of the site, with food and beverage and other facilities nearby, including a SPAR University mini-supermarket.

The development of the Stevin area and the construction of Echo are in line with the campus strategy: realising a campus in which the buildings, facilities and layout of public areas help ensure that TU Delft maintains and expands its leading position in the world university rankings.

More information: https://www.unstudio.com/en/page/13592/echo-tu-delft

Echo, TU Delft – The Netherlands (copyright UNStudio)

Jet Brains Campus, Saint Petersburg © UNStudio

JetBrains Campus

Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2021 / UNStudio

The new St Petersburg office for international software development company JetBrains transforms their current premises into a modern immersive campus environment.

With nine offices already located in Europe, the U.S. and Russia, the new building will help the St. Petersburg office attract unique talent by expressing its distinct identity to its workforce.

Overlooking the Gulf of Finland, the new JetBrains’ campus is designed as a place of true connectivity and openness; a place that fully engages people and enhances their everyday lives.

The design of the new building focuses on the comfort and wellbeing of every person who works there and of those who simply pass through. The campus has been designed in full detail, including JetBrains’ specific approach to work culture, which led to custom made healthy work stations for all 1,000 newly housed employees.

In addition to providing efficient and flexible workspace for the organisation, the campus will create a sense of belonging for its occupants – not just those in the industry, but also to the community and to the city of St. Petersburg.

JetBrains is a highly innovative company. This meant that we were able to bring everything that we have learnt from designing contemporary work campuses to this design and could create a warm, green, transparent, open and inviting office that stimulates total interaction.”
Ben van Berkel, UNStudio’s Founder and Principal Architect

More information: https://www.unstudio.com/en/page/14857/jetbrains-headquarters-campus

Jet Brains Campus, Saint Petersburg © UNStudio)

Triango, Paris © Karres en Brands


Triangle de Gonesse, Paris, 2017 / Karres en Brands (design sustainable business park)

Triango is the winning proposal for a new type of office area, one that is lively and diverse, functional, but at the same time, ambitious and experimental—where sustainability is promoted in every sense of the word. Not only is Triango an anchor in the development of the Triangle de Gonesse, it also serves as a reference for the type of office area we aim to create. Through the combination of nature, sport and work, Triango generates a new range of possibilities, creating space for the known, new and unexpected.

Triango is our vision for a new way of working: an office area that is not defined by iconic buildings but rather by high-quality public space. The interaction between buildings and environment offers new possibilities for work, sport, recreation, and of course, nature. Just as natural elements are defined by their links with different molecules, the park is strengthened by its public space and inter-building connections. Rather than fighting iconic architecture, Triango seeks synergy. Triango — a subtle icon.

The masterplan is structured along a very robust framework that articulates the edges of the site around a lush green central park. The membrane of buildings reacts to unique site qualities and defines 3 characteristic zones: The urban zone, is a compact strip, where, transparent, active, ground floors and open public spaces, consisting of gardens and green atriums, create a lively urban character. At the centre of the urban zone is a large production greenhouse which will provide energy-neutral food and ingredientsused in the products of the companies working in the area and for small local shops and restaurants. The organic zone, takes advantage of the south orientation to the seamlessly connect with the green. The park connects on different levels with the buildings and form innovative outdoor areas for new ways of work and recreation, such as tribunes for watching the ongoing sport activities, a climbing wall along the building facade, plateaus towards the water and an outdoor conference/lecture atrium.

More information: https://www.karresenbrands.com/project/triango

Triango, Paris © Karres en Brands

Humanities Campus, Leiden, The Netherlands © KCAP

Humanities Campus

Leiden, The Netherlands, 2014 – present / KCAP (masterplanner, supervisor and architect)

Leiden University is the Netherland’s oldest university. It has a strong international reputation and an ambition to ex-pand. For the Humanities Faculty, KCAP created an urban redevelopment strategy including the partial renovation of existing buildings, the addition of new buildings and the expansion of educational program. In the center of the faculty, a new heart will evolve to create an inviting learning environment.

The urban development plan offers a future-proof framework with a strong identity. A new central outdoor space en-sures cohesion between the various buildings and institutions. Central functions on the square, improved infrastruc-ture and more space for meeting will be provided. The sustainable design approach aims to create an inner-city cam-pus by enhancing the qualities of the buildings and their relation to each other, as well as improving and connecting to the surrounding site features. The buildings must meet the demand of current users and at the same time be flexible in order to be able to respond to future changes in educational concepts and student numbers.

In addition to the university-related ambitions, the development will result in a new part of the city centre that will invite people from outside the university to use and visit the campus. A mixture of functions such as education, housing, catering, sports facilities and parks will create an attractive and hospitable campus that is well-connected to the city centre of Leiden.

More information: https://www.kcap.eu/en/projects/v/humanities_campus/

Humanities Campus, Leiden, The Netherlands © KCAP

ING & city campus © Karres en Brands

City campus

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015 – 2016 / Karres en Brands

In 2015, ING Bank decided to move its office within Amsterdam Southeast. The building is being developed with a focus on sustainability, innovation and creativity, and Karres en Brands designed the surrounding landscape. With 2,700 employees in the new office, ING aims to contribute a vibrant and inspiring location to this part of the city.

The new building is a first step towards a city campus adjacent to the Amsterdam Southeast Centre. Characteristic of Southeast’s buildings, the lot has a height difference of 3.50 metres between the ground and the overlying main road. The building and landscape design bridges this height difference in a relaxed manner, providing for a good connection between the ground and road levels. New walking routes to other ING offices on the road level activate the Bijlmerdreef’s public space, which was originally intended for motorized traffic only.

The landscape around the building will be furbished as a large urban garden with walking paths, gathering areas and seating opportunities. Lawns and large trees set the scene and give the plot a green appearance. The landscape gradually descends to the ground level, where it adds lush green terraces to the Amsterdam Port shopping area. The landscape facilitates the main entrances of the two buildings and a restaurant pavilion with terraces. The landscape is a lively place that invites employees, customers and other visitors to use the outdoor spaces as an extension of their working and living environment.

As part of this development, Karres en Brands also created an urban planning vision and made the final design for upgrading the adjacent Bijlmerdreef. Both are aimed at developing a city campus where ING buildings and lots play an important role in creating more diversity, urbanity and quality in the public space.

More information: https://www.karresenbrands.com/project/ing-headquarters

ING & city campus © Karres en Brands

ETH Zürich, Hönggerberg © ETH Zürich – Alessandro Della Bella

Science City Zurich

Switzerland, 2005 – present / KCAP (urban designer)

‘Science City’ is the development vision for the university campus of the 21st century for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. The campus is required to act as an interface between education, innovation and society, to offer a place for business, economics, politics and education to interact. The campus’ boundaries and the landscape qualities of the Hönggerberg area in Zurich are retained and the existing campus, by contrast, is being transformed internally and condensed into a multifaceted urban area to increase its capacity. Besides new research and teaching buildings, there housing for students and staff, accommodation for guests, sports facilities, child-care facilities, shops and food outlets are an integral part of the campus.

The urban plan also includes a new conference centre, a library and spaces for meetings and exhibitions. All these facilities are intended for a broader public than the university community alone. In addition, the campus provides accommodation for business start-ups and established enterprises. Within a labyrinthine system of buildings, which guide the outside space, lies a fabric of paths, squares, winter gardens and green rooms. This connective tissue binds together the internal and external spaces creating an endless series of options for communication and discussion, thus forming a tissue for movement and communication in Science City. This network develops itself further on a city level through the optimization of transport connections to the city of Zurich and to other schools and university facilities. As such, the network extends from Science City to the City of Science.

More information: https://www.kcap.eu/en/projects/v/science_city_eth/

ETH university campus Zürich © KCAP

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