Future prize for crown façade Museum Naturalis

Naturalis, Leiden, Neutelings Riedijk architecten

Naturalis, Leiden, Neutelings Riedijk architects

On 14 November, the 21st edition of the Concrete Prize was awarded during the annual Concrete Day. The jury evaluated 65 entries, resulting in 17 nominated projects. There are traditionally six categories in which prizes were awarded, but New this year was the Future Prize. During the Beton Experience on 13 November, MBO, HBO and WO students could vote for their favourite among all nominees. With more than 20 percent of the votes, the winner of the very first Future Prize was: Project Kroongevel museum Naturalis. Naturalis Biodiversity Center is one of the top five institutes in the world in the field of biodiversity. Due to the growth of the collection, an increase in the number of researchers and a sharp increase in the number of visitors to the museum, the management decided to expand. Architectural firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects has designed this new extension with a very distinctive and clearly expressive appearance. A special part of the design is the crown façade.

With a height of more than 40 meters, the façade forms the separation of a special interior space characterized by a great openness. This openness created one of the design challenges. In the end, it was decided to turn the façade support structure entirely in concrete into a hybrid construction. The collaboration between steel and concrete turned out to be the solution to capture all the requirements and wishes of the converging disciplines in one façade design. In order to achieve the intended appearance on the outside, precast concrete with a supplement of Norwegian bluestone was chosen. Due to the after-treatment (blasting), fine natural stone parts come to the surface. A characteristic of Norwegian bluestone is that it gives a truly beautiful sparkle through light, matching this eye-catcher of the extension.

While retaining the design, a steel structure has been designed that supports the roof, but can also provide horizontal support against the wind loads working perpendicular to the façade. In order to respect the design, inventive solutions have been devised in the steel construction to reduce the buckling lengths of columns, in order to keep them as slim as possible. A large part of the gravitational forces has thus been discharged vertically to the support structure and ultimately the foundation.

The prefab supplier, Hibex, has asked Lievense to elaborate the elaboration of the façade elements down to a detailed level. By combining the diamond and landscape shapes, the entire façade pattern is put together. In addition to these elements, special corner, edge and roof elements have been modelled. The own weight of the elements is carried down with the hidden stacking cams. The elements are bolted to the steel structure for wind pressure and in particular wind suction. It has always been ensured that small horizontal movements can take place without tensions being built up.

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