Analmost sixty year-old historic hall of the TU Eindhoven has been transformedinto the new heart of the university. At the same time, a new building has beenplaced on top of the hall; the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science.This striking combination of reuse, transformation and newbuild was designed bythe Rotterdam firm Ector Hoogstad Architecten.
The MetaForum will be opened on22 October by Wim van de Donk, Queen’s Commissioner for the Province ofNoord-Brabant.The so-called W-hal was built in 1958 as a “flexible, indoor hectare for machinery and experiments”. Architect Joost Ector, who himself graduated from Eindhoven in 1996,transformed the building into the heart of the TU Eindhoven with this idea inmind.
Among other things, the MetaForum provides room for the new centrallibrary, a large number of study areas and lounges, catering facilities, shopsand student information desks. The southern section has been transformed into acovered events area.Footbridges on the first floors connect theMetaForum with the surrounding buildings. Spectacular sight lines at thedifferent levels emphasise the function of the complex as a central meetingplace.
Students who enter via the bridges descend to the library and the other
central facilities on the ground floor and in the basement. Or they take thepanoramic staircase or lift up to the new Faculty of Mathematics and ComputerScience premises (16,000 m2).The faculty seems to ‘float’ above the hall like a massive metal block.This is due to the extremely subtle supporting framework that consists of justtwenty slender steel columns.
The newly constructed cellar below the MetaForumcompensates partially for the weight of the new faculty building and alsoaccommodates all the technical installations. The equipment for controlling theclimate in the complex is built into the floor of the first storey. In thisway, it was possible to keep the historic roof free from equipment and restoreit to its former glory.For the restoration of the existing,non-insulated facade of the W-hal, a new method was developed, by means ofwhich the original steel ‘chair profiles’ were transformed into a wellinsulated curtain wall in a low-maintenance and reversible way, without anychange to the outward appearance.
According to specialists, there is a goodchance that this method will become the standard solution for this type ofrestoration project. .