The former building occupied by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics was designed by OD205 in 1965. It was one of the office’s first buildings for the Drienerlo campus, built when the University of Twente was being founded. Now it is being transformed into student housing and a congress hotel. Transformation is called for not only on account of the totally new programme (around 445 short-stay student units and 72 hotel rooms, as well as social spaces and around 1000 m2 congress facilities in the plinth and in the annex to the building), but also because the architecture of that period requires a thorough overhaul.
In this transformation process the architectural flexibility propagated in the 1960s turned out to be of great value: the open structure of the ELTN building can easily accommodate another programme. The standard spaces in the disk-shaped volume will be converted without difficulty into hotel rooms, and the spaces in the lab tower and on the ground floor can convincingly accommodate the public elements of the programme. The new programme thus benefits from the existing generous height of the interior, and with its new glazed facades the building offers a panoramic view of the surrounding scenery. With this programme and the reuse of the existing spatial qualities of Hogekamp, the building once again acquires a prominent position within the urban ensemble of this part of the Campus.
Other factors in the transformation include the way the building convinces as a symbol of the 21st century, and how it can be both preserved as a piece of university heritage and radically renewed at the same time. The transformation therefore serves two purposes at once, retaining the evocative characteristics of this functionalist and technical architecture and, more importantly, revitalising the outdated-looking structure.
Van Wijnen Projectontwikkeling Oost
transformation of faculty building into student housing (445 units) and congress hotel (72 rooms; 1.000 m2 congress facilities)
Laurens Kuipers, Roos Aldershoff