Project: MFA + Hogeschool Zuyd Ligne
Country/city: Netherlands / Sittard
Architect: Jeanne Dekkers
Production year: 2016
Photographer: Hugo de Jong
The North Block of Zuyd University includes a university, a cinema and a museum – all under one roof.
A unique and dynamic learning environment
In September 2016, the 3,500 students and 400 staff of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences moved to a new location: Ligne. Ligne is the new, vibrant heart of Sittard city centre. The university form a hub for knowledge and culture together with a library, a museum, a cinema, shops, care facilities and residential quarters.
The complex consists of a North and a South Block. The South Block was designed by Rapp+Rapp, and the North Block by the architect Jeanne Dekkers. The central theme of the overall design is “to meet and connect”. This has inspired a large, central meeting plaza between the blocks. The different facilities in Ligne are very flexible and can be shared and used for different purposes. For example, the cinema doubles as university lecture rooms during the day.
Complex design challenge
“The North Block posed a very interesting design challenge. It involved a complex situation: a university, a cinema and a museum – all under one roof”, says architect Jeanne Dekkers. “Our design was based on connecting all those functions in rooms characterised by light and vitality. The bright effect of the windows is reflected in the light lines in the floors and ceilings. Everything comes together in the central hall. The combined film screens and lecture rooms are suspended like ‘nests’ in the three-storey space. These spaces are important to the users since they spend a lot of time here.”
As an architect, you have ideas and visions, and you want to be able to make those ideas come true.
Colour and structure
“The colours provided another important guideline for the design. I wanted the colours to be warm and bright at the same time. I also wanted them to appear on both the interior and the exterior walls. Moreover, I wanted the concrete used in the structure to be visible, adding a natural look. Acoustic values were also important in the design, since speech clarity and noise reduction is crucial. The ceilings met all my expectations. What I like about working with Ecophon is that they give me a good range of options, on the basis of which I can then decide what best suits my idea. As an architect, you have ideas and visions, and you want to be able to make those ideas come true.”
More than just working together
Hermien Wielders from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences says: “We do more than just work together in this building – we really share the rooms. Synergy has taken on a real form, and that is as great as the building itself. It looked good on paper, and now it has actually been created.
Facilitating and functional
“For us, the main purpose of a building is to facilitate education. Even though it was a turnkey project, there was a lot of consultation with the developer and the municipality. After all, the building had to work for different users. The acoustics are very important for the different functionalities. The central hall, for example, has a very high ceiling and a stone floor. Nevertheless, it has been possible to create a good atmosphere with pleasant acoustics.
Focus Ds in the colour Soft Slate was used in the central hall.
Beautiful, practical ceilings
“A dark-grey acoustic ceiling has been used in the central hall: Focus Ds in the colour Soft Slate. The ceiling creates a nice contrast to the round-shaped rooms, especially in the evening when all the small lights are on. In the lecture rooms many hard surfaces have been used, which means sound absorption has to come from the ceilings. We wanted to have easy access for maintenance as well, so the ceiling also had to be practical. The Gedina is perfect for this, it looks very sleek and meets our functional requirements. We have nine locations and a lot of experience with all kinds of ceilings. We always end up using this kind of system, because it has proved to work extremely well. It also gives everything a smooth look.”
Hall with excellent acoustics
“The building is now fully operational. I’m very enthusiastic, continues Hermien Wielders. “The students immediately felt at home here, and there are people around at all hours of the day. We worked on this project for ten years. It’s great to see how well it has all worked out. When the cinema was opened a jazz band was playing in the hall, and the sound was fantastic!”