The plan for the Noviotech Campus, located in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands, unifies the currently disjointed campus buildings and adds new buildings in the empty spaces between them, all while stitching the site into the surrounding city with an ecology-first approach. Doubling the leasable space, the plan will make the campus more attractive to both established companies and start-ups and will solidify Nijmegen’s reputation as a hub for technology and health innovation.
Located in the south west of Nijmegen, the Noviotech Campus emerged on the production site of microchip manufacturer NXP, as successive companies spun off from the parent and began to congregate in the buildings on the east of the campus. With the only greenery in the current Noviotech Campus being found in the form of broad grass lawns and a handful of small trees, the area stands in stark contrast to the neighbouring Goffertpark, one of the largest parks in Nijmegen. With this upgrade, Noviotech Campus aims to correct this imbalance. MVRDV’s masterplan design links to the city’s own biodiversity strategy, turning the campus into a nature-inclusive landscape that connects the Goffertpark and adjacent Jonkerbos to designated green corridors nearby, including with green roofs and façades on the buildings of the campus.
The masterplan takes the existing buildings as a base, preserving six of the seven large buildings currently on the site – including one that will be renovated – and incorporating them into the future campus design, thus reducing the amount of carbon that will be released in constructing the campus expansion. These buildings are used to define a grid into which new buildings are added over three phases of development, eventually increasing the campus to a total of 300,000 square metres of leasable area.
Through the centre of this grid, connecting the Goffert train station in the north to a zone of sports facilities that will soon be built south of the campus, is a green spine that serves as the central route through the campus. With a meandering path that connects the various building entrances and amenities this space will be a pleasant place to take a break for both workers in the Noviotech Campus and pedestrians passing through.
The campus is united by the landscape strategy, which sees a “hyper-mix” of trees, shrubs, and flowers planted in overlapping circular patches. This results in a “landscape of a million dots” that not only gives the campus a recognisable and unifying identity, but also a new mixed landscape strategy that brings together various functions.
MVRDV worked with ecological advisors Faunest to ensure this dotted landscape lives up to its expectations as a nature hotspot, developing a strategy based on five “ambassador species” that are chosen to represent all aspects of a healthy environment. In this way, the campus becomes a powerful biotope in which everything works together – from berries to flowers, from leaves to branches, from small plants to large.
“The masterplan is designed to reintroduce these natural principles”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “We follow the principles of forest gardening, and follow the seasons. We are trying to increase knowledge of planting mixtures; In the tradition of Mien Ruys and Piet Oudolf, we are now entering the phase of hyper-mixtures that aim to intensify and cultivate the complexity of nature on all fronts. My hope is that the Noviotech Campus will not only become part of Nijmegen's ecological infrastructure, but that it will in itself show the wonder and beauty of this new ‘man-made’ nature. The greenery also continues on the building façades and roofs, extending this blend of nature vertically as well as horizontally.”
The buildings on the campus will be designed under MVRDV’s supervision and with its architectural guidelines the masterplan ensures the continuation of its sustainable and eco-friendly approach. It provides carbon footprint guidelines, calls for the use of circular or bio-based materials, recommends adaptable and future-proof structures that will thus have long lifespans, advises for renewable energy production on-site, and proposes that the greenery of the surroundings should continue onto the buildings’ façades and roofs. With this unified strategy for architecture and landscape, the future Noviotech Campus will be a place that connects humans, buildings, and nature.
- Founding partner in charge
- Ecological Advisor: