Over the coming years the existing Technohal at the University of Twente will undergo a sweeping transformation into a multi-purpose building. It was designed and built by OD205, the predecessor to Defesche Van den Putte, in the 1970s as the Process Technology Hall, an annex to the neighbouring faculty of Chemical Technology (now the Gallery). The function the Technohal was built to accommodate, large-scale chemical trial installations, no longer exists, because the technology has been replaced by more modern and highly digitalized alternatives. In recent years, therefore, the building was temporarily occupied by the Academy for Art and Design. But now the ‘glass cathedral’ – a nickname no doubt down to the vast size of the hall and the resulting spaciousness – is available again for user groups from the university itself.
The architectural and cultural value of the building, together with its functional and technical possibilities, were the reason to seek a new use for the Technohal. A preliminary study established which of the building’s architectural qualities – typological characteristics, particular materials and details – should be decisive in its redevelopment (in fact its third life). The programme to be accommodated consists of spaces for education, research and public activities. Thanks to the flexible nature of the structure, facades and installations, the spaces can be smoothly accommodated inside the building.
The functional necessity for this process of transformation is further underlined by the popularity of the building among potential clients. Demand for space in this building now exceeds availability — the best basis for a transformation of this sort.