Marga Klompé Building

A Circular Cube

Marga Klompé Building is the first college building in Europe to be entirely constructed from solid wood. The new, nearly energy-neutral complex is situated on a plot of land measuring 33 x 33 meters, within the forested campus of Tilburg University. The building accommodates a foyer, 1 auditorium, 13 lecture halls, and self-study spaces for approximately 1,000 students. Set within a wooded landscape, the building’s timeless form echoes the existing Modernist structures on the campus.

BudgetConfidential
Time span2019 - 2023
Size5 000 m²
StatusCompleted
LocationTilburg, NL
TypePublic Spaces, Sustainability
Client
Tilburg University
Partner in charge
Stefan Prins
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Rafael Zarza García
Robert Cuijpers
Landscape architect
Urban planner
Structural engineer
MEP consultant
Building physics
Mobility consultant
Cost consultant
Sustainability consultant
Geotechnical Engineer

Together with our client, we upped our ambition during the design process resulting in a carbon neutral, completely circular, and BREEAM Outstanding design.

Triumph in Timber

Circular ambitions are reflected in the wooden construction and interior

Triumph in Timber

With its predominantly cross-laminated timber structure, Marga Klompé Building is a fully circular pioneer in academic architecture. Tackling significant design challenges, the wooden rib floors span a groundbreaking 9 meters, while meeting the complex demands required by an educational building. The dry construction system employs 4.6 kilometers of timber beams that are demountable for future reuse. Additionally, hanging the limestone façade panels, rather than gluing them, allows the stone to be recycled too. Large windows flood the ground-floor foyer with light and bring the outdoors indoors. The centrally located staircase and clear sightlines make orientation easy and intuitive.

Timeless tranquility

We implemented a unique dry construction system
The 450-seat main lecture hall
Simple wooden furniture exuding serenity
Beams remain beautifully exposed, integral to the architecture
Wood is prominently featured for a serene atmosphere
Wooden furniture enhance the tranquil study spaces
The atrium has been cleverly utilized to harness return ventilation
01 - 07

From action to contemplation

Section

Ground floor

First floor

Second floor

Third floor

1/5

By elevating our circular ambitions in our vision for the tender, we motivated the client to take the next step in sustainable educational buildings.

Contemplative Calm

Intimate alcoves by the windows

Contemplative Calm

We took the Cobbenhagen Building as a starting point for spatial qualities but brought the design into the 21st century by opting for a palette of natural, circular materials such as wood, terrazzo, and plasterwork. These materials are prominently featured in the Marga Klompé Building and contribute to a serene atmosphere, from the spacious lecture halls to the intimate window niches. Additionally, wooden furniture has been used to enhance the tranquil study spaces. The expansive windows allow natural light to flood the space while playfully capturing a range of views, some unexpected – the sky, a single tree, or people walking to the campus.

On the upper floors the atmosphere is more contemplative than active

Stimulating Settings

Acoustic comfort in each learning space
Exposed timber with bespoke wooden furniture 
The second largest lecture hall with space for 100 students
Smaller spaces, as you rise up through the building
Windows playfully capture a range of views
01 - 05

Together with Tilburg University, we achieved a maximally circular and energy-neutral design.

Dive into the details
Dive into the details
Lessons in Living, Learning, and Working in Wood

Intelligent Design

Educational spaces of and for the 21st century

Intelligent Design

We’re proud to boast a BREEAM Outstanding certificate and achieving nearly energy neutrality. Not only have we delivered a wooden educational building, but we have also captured the essence of intelligent design. Every material has been carefully chosen and placed, allowing us to create not just a physical structure but also a monument to smart choices and sustainability. A well-insulated building envelope does the rest for a passive contribution to low energy usage. For this purpose, a special material has been chosen: the insulation partly consists of recycled denim jeans. Textile waste that would otherwise be incinerated is now used to create cotton insulation. It is sustainable and has proven to be an excellent way to improve the building’s acoustic comfort.

A palette of natural, circular materials such as wood and terrazzo

Four Faces for a Campus Hub

Our design emphasizes a strong connection with the natural environment

From the outset, we knew we had the right partner. Despite challenges, the ideas remained intact, allowing us to follow a clear course.

Richard Antens (Project Manager, Tilburg University)
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