A prestigious institute should be housed according to it station. SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research recently had a new head office built in Leiden: aesthetically pleasing, but also technically complex. SRON set very strict requirements for the flooring in the new building. And that meant it was time to call in Bolidt. Floors were developed, tested and installed specially for this scientific institute.
It’s perhaps not what you expect to find in the Netherlands: SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. This globally renowned organisation conducts research in the fields of astrophysics, Earth observation and exoplanets – planets that orbit a star other than the sun. SRON analyses data from space telescopes and other sources and develops and builds parts, instruments and accessories for satellites of the European and American space organisations ESA and NASA, among others. SRON’s technology has contributed to many space missions over the years.
SRON recently had a new head office built at the Bio Science Park in Leiden. The spacious, transparent building consists of offices, cleanrooms, laboratories and workshops situated around a ‘connecting atrium’ intended to stimulate collaboration within the institute. The building, with total floor space of approximately 10,000m2, has emerged as a calling card that enables SRON to present itself in style internationally.
The new ‘Earth base’ of the renowned institute is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also technically complex. SRON’s activities are very sensitive, so the institute sets extremely high standards for its accommodation. For example, the floors must be completely free of vibration, rooms must be free of dust, and there must be no electromagnetic radiation inside the building. To give an impression of the technical complexity of the new building, sterile areas such as cleanrooms and cryogenic facilities (cryolabs) are built on a low-vibration, solid concrete floor slab covering 5,000 m3 and supported by a whopping 8 tonnes of rebar. Conditioned airlocks shield these spaces from radiation and dust.
MedicomZes – a Visser & Smit Bouw brand and part of VolkerWessels, one of the largest construction companies in the Netherlands – was responsible for the construction of the new SRON head office. As a specialist construction partner, MedicomZes has been delivering projects for healthcare, hospitals, laboratories and cleanrooms for more than 40 years. With its extensive knowledge and experience, the company was the right party to realise SRON’s new high-tech accommodation.
To carry out the project, MedicomZes formed a construction consortium with technical installation company Kuijpers.
What applied to the building as a whole also applied to the floors of the new building: these also had to meet very specific technical requirements. Ed Lenting, project manager at MedicomZes, explains: ‘As construction partners, we sat down with SRON during the design phase. It was immediately clear to us that we also had to quickly involve Bolidt in the project. Bolidt distinguishes itself from other suppliers thanks to its specific knowledge of floors for cleanrooms and laboratories. Moreover, they also have their own R&D and production department, meaning we could also develop the floors of the new building together with Bolidt. Looking back, this really succeeded too: SRON, Bolidt and MedicomZes completed the project together.’
At the initiative of Bolidt segment manager Nicole Tieman, the functional requirements for the floors were discussed at the Bolidt Innovation Center where SRON, together with its construction partners, held close consultations with the technical specialists of the Bolidt R&D centre. One of the requirements that SRON set for the floors in the cleanrooms and cryolabs was that they would have to perform optimally in the area of electrostatic discharge, or ESD. This means that the floors must discharge static electricity in a controlled manner so as to prevent static charge generation on people and equipment.
Ed Lenting: ‘The Bolidt Innovation Center was the perfect place to extensively test the flooring. We made a trial installation and then SRON performed measurements on the ESD flooring with its own calibrated equipment. Bolidt carried out its own measurements and these separate sets of measurements agreed. The Bolidt flooring offers sufficient protection against electrostatic charging: the “body walking voltage” of well under 100 Volts was achieved.’
In addition to the requirements in the area of electrical discharge, it was also important for the client that the floors would perform well in use, says Nicole Tieman. She was also involved in the project from start to finish and was the single point of contact for SRON. ‘The Bolidtop® 700 College floor system, a seamless floor that is very wear-resistant and requires little maintenance, has been installed throughout a large part of the new building. To be really sure of the flooring, together with the people from SRON we visited various reference projects so that they could see with their own eyes – and hear from actual users – how the Bolidtop® 700 College performs in practice.
The new SRON head office has also turned out to be a very sustainable building, good enough to earn a BREEAM Excellent certificate for sustainability. The new head office meets an extensive set of sustainability requirements, not only in terms of the end result, but also during design and construction. Nicole Tieman: ‘Because Bolidt developed the floors specially for SRON and also installed them, we were able to ensure that they could fully meet the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent certificate. When it came to sustainability, too, we had control over every aspect.’Request a brochure
P.O. Box 131
3340 AC Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht
Bolidt Innovation Center
3341 LW The Netherlands
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