The year-on-year growth in student numbers at Delft University of Technology, combined with the need for more flexible and a different type of learning spaces, has prompted the development of the new educational building Pulse. In addition to the library and the assembly hall, it is one of the university’s interfaculty buildings. Pulse is the place to be for modern activating education on campus and supports students and lecturers of all faculties in various educational formats. The design of the building was created by Rotterdam based Ector Hoogstad Architects in collaboration with lecturers and students. Not all environments are equally suitable for this.
The point is to create environments that bring people together in a meaningful way. That requires specific spatial conditions; spaciousness, atmosphere and connection are important themes in our work.
Pulse is the first zero energy building on campus and has an EPC rating of A++++. With an annual output of 150,000 kWh, the 490 solar panels (750m2) installed on the roof generate enough energy to provide electricity for the entire building. Pulse also uses underground thermal energy storage and features high-performance insulating glass. An intelligent building management system controls the ventilation, lighting, cooling and heating in accordance with requirements per individual space. The façade openings have been designed to make the most of natural daylight, which reduces the need for artificial lighting and thus saves energy.
Architect Joost Ector: “Just like for the campus as a whole, the theme central to the Pulse building is connection. It connects multiple buildings together, it connects the outdoors to the indoors and, most importantly, it connects people. People who come here to acquire, bring and jointly develop knowledge. What makes Pulse special is that this all takes place using innovative forms of education, including digital technologies. The supply of and demand for knowledge come together here in a homely environment. The building feels less like a university building or office and more like something you are not familiar with, but where you immediately feel at home.”
Ector: “This learning environment is a prime example of what you could call a knowledge landscape, which is precisely what our practice specialises in. We design environments where knowledge creation and sharing take centre stage.
Not all environments are equally suitable for this. The point is to create environments that bring people together in a meaningful way. That requires specific spatial conditions; spaciousness, atmosphere and connection are important themes in our work. Our signature reveals itself not so much in a certain style, but in our approach to space. We increase the chance of people meeting and encourage interaction. That is what our buildings are about and the same applies to the Pulse building. Inside, the Square has become one of the highlights for most people, as it has for us. This space with its large tiered seating area is used for gatherings, debates, discussion sessions and presentations. The food market right underneath is a very popular place.”
Ector: “We use Bolidt flooring in many of our buildings, for a variety of reasons. We of course like its beautiful and clean aesthetic, but more than that, it is also just a very practical, seamless and low-maintenance solution with a very long life span. In our designs, we never simply think in terms of beautiful and ugly. We always look at practicality, durability and cost efficiency as well. Something is only good if it is not just beautiful, but also smart and sensible. We often apply Bolidt flooring for universities, colleges and school buildings. But we also chose Bolidt for the largest bicycle parking garage in Europe close to Utrecht Central Station.In addition to their smooth appearance, Bolidt’s flow applied synthetic flooring systems offer a wide range of design possibilities and colour options. As a company, Bolidt is also a pleasure to do business with; they deliver on their promises and offer excellent service and aftercare support.”
In creating the Pulse building, Ector Hoogstad’s interior designers worked closely with Bolidt. Ector: “Working with Bolidt is always a positive experience. If we have questions during the design phase or anything else, they will get on it right away.
They also go out of their way to ensure that everything runs smoothly during installation. That’s why we keep going back to Bolidt. We are quite familiar with what Bolidt makes and is capable of by now, but we also know that whenever we want something different they will always be open to it. Together we make our ideas a reality. For Pulse, we selected the Bolidtop® FiftyFifty flooring system. An important benefit of this floor is that it is very practical due to its mottled surface. There is daily cleaning here, of course, but with thousands of students passing through during the day, it is impossible to prevent dirt from coming in. Bolidtop® FiftyFifty does an excellent job of masking that.”
Since it was established in 1964, Bolidt has focused on replacing traditional materials in order to make a contribution to a better living and natural environment in the areas of safety, durability, energy & data, design and hygiene.
Bolidt has extensive experience in the education sector and has the right flooring system with specific properties for every space. Think, for instance, of impact and wear resistance, safety and hygiene, but also of chemical resistance and even ESD-safe flooring. All floors are available in a range of attractive colour options. Because the floors are seamless, anti-fungal and hygienic, they contribute to a healthy indoor climate in accordance with government guidelines on the indoor environment in schools.
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