Mindlabs is a collaboration between three local educational institutions and a media group. Tilburg college, The Fontys University of Applied Science and Tilburg university will work together with the Persgroep on an innovation centre, where the human side of media based technology will be the central theme. 'Building 70' (the existing old train workshop in Tilburg train stations transport zone) is the inspiring place where all this comes together. CIVIC architects teamed up with INBO to design a building in which knowledge is made, distributed, validated and exhibited. Where education, research and entrepreneurship run seamlessly into each other.

The design builds on history. The existing brick walls and extraordinary steel structure are preserved and, new structural elements are informed by the old. The historic walls enclose an open and flexible space directly connected to the outside. This "expo floor" takes ques from historical exhibition halls and their techniques in transmitting knowledge; it is here where new products and services are presented to different users and to the city.

The open floorspace creates a dialogue between organisations and programs in an informal and approachable way. Above this space hovers enclosed, but transparent lab rooms where research can be presented. At the top of the building one can work and study in a calm environment.

Each of these domains have their own character but remain connected visually and functionally. Spaces are formed by staggering floors, not by walls; borders are fluid. The expo floor itself is equipped with 'interactive pavilions' that have been placed between the different organisations; these are the spaces where organisations can meet each other to work on new concepts.

Mindlabs conveys a firm architecture; it is a logical, crisp architectural idiom that arises from the dialogue between ‘objets trouvés’ and a new structure of concrete portal frames. It is a simple yet surprising architecture based on structural clarity, a pragmatic façade design, the visibility of the interior and pure materials.

  • Name: Mindlabs
  • Location: Tilburg (NL)
  • Program: Education, research and office space, business space, restaurant
  • Size: 8.200 m²
  • Commission: Tender, 2nd place
  • Period: 2017
  • Client: Hogeschool Fontys, Tilburg University, ROC, Gemeente Tilburg
  • Team: Jan Lebbink, Gert Kwekkeboom, Rick ten Doeschate, Ingrid van der Heijden, Angela Solis, Fernanda Romeu, Agnese del Brocco
  • Partners: Inbo Architecten, ARUP Amsterdam
  • Images: Civic Architects, Inbo Architecten, 3D Studio Prins

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