New Potentials for Potentiaal

Housing, education, culture | Master studio project

Group of 5 | 2013


Multidisciplinary project about the re-development of the Potentiaal, a building on the TU campus. The building needed to be energy-neutral, which was completely impossible for this outdated building. Nevertheless we tried and almost succeed. The integration of this aspects was what MIO was all about. The design was very much influenced by the energy requirements. For example the solar panels on the roof and in all the facades, the algae tubes in the cultural building Corona and the pond in front of the Potentiaal.


Corona, the building recognized by the auditorium was the part I personally developed, with structural calculations. This building is currently a laboratory, in the design was tried to give this laboratory a second life, resulting in a really industrial architecture. Delicious ugly I would call it.





The assignment was from the beginning on integrally approached. In the urban context collaboration between the disciplines led to integrating the Dommel in the urban fabric. It is diverted alongside Impuls and Corona with a pond in front of Potentiaal around the Voorgebouw. This divaricating is kept on a stable level by the hydro-electric dam placed on the campus, which generates energy for our buildings. The pond incorporates a heat-exchanger, exchanging the overflow of heat with required coldness. On the island, created by divaricating the Dommel, three large Solar Trees are placed. These PV-panel covered dishes fit into the landscape representing the Energy Neutrality of the project and of course generating energy.

In the educational parts of Potentiaal, the cassette structure of the floors is exposed to a maximum. As a result, also ducts and pipelines are visible, emphasizing the industrial look of the building. An elevated computer floor offers concealed power and data communication to any part of the floor, but also works in an acoustic way to reduce reverberation times heightened by exposed concrete. With a lowered ceiling, piping from the upper residential floors is concealed at the second floor of Potentiaal. With this an ceiling is created for the voids as being an ending for them. These voids are created where the structure of these cassettes does not contribute in a structural way. Cross beams are preserved inside these voids to emphasize the structure and therewith the industrial look.

Residents of the upper floors of Potentiaal do not have to worry from the noises made in the living rooms next to their room. All rooms are equipped with great sound insulating walls ánd doors to minimize disturbance. There ventilation can be individually controlled by the ventilation convector unit incorporated in the prefabricated façade, an integration of physics, services and technology. By using the gaps between window frames as intake, no grating in the façade is required, enhancing the architectural look of the building as a monolith.


A gantry on top of Potentiaal offers, by heightening the roof-level, more space for PV-panels, more space for machines underneath, a terrace for the Common Room and a concealed railing for the window washer installation. This gantry introduces Potentiaal with a ‘crown’ to suitably end the monolithic structure as a power plant.


In many parts of the project integrality let to a final design, adding more value to it than an design from an individual discipline could or would.

The cultural centre in Corona offered a chance to incorporate acoustics in the architectural and building services design. The ceiling of the theatre, in order to be able to house different styles of music, theatres and lectures, was required to be able to move up and down, changing the reverberation time.

Algae in the façade of the theatre-volume are not just embellishments to decorate the interior, they are used for generating energy. Although this is a new technology, it is already implemented in an office building and generates energy.

Structure is visible behind these algae, offering visitors a glimpse of the skeleton of the building and walkways are suspended from the ceiling, again, integrating architecture and structure.

2015 © Patrick van Dodewaard