Naturalis, the Dutch National Biodiversity Center, designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects in collaboration with fashion designer Iris van Herpen, brings science and public together in a new spatial ensemble. Guillem Colomer (COFO architects) worked as an architect in this project during his years at Neutelings Riedijk Architects.

The new design forms a sustainable ensemble of existing buildings and new-build, with each activity housed in a specific form. The central atrium connects the various parts of the institute: the existing offices and depots with the newly built museum and laboratories. The design of the atrium consists of a three-dimensional concrete structure in the form of interlocking molecules as a lace of ovals, triangles and hexagons. The filtered light that enters through the circular windows as a ‘glass crown’, reinforcing the monumentality of the space.

The main staircase leading up to exhibitions resembles a mountain path, becoming narrower at the top with enough space to welcome Trix, the 66 million years old T-Rex. The exterior of exhibition halls with stone blocks in horizontal layers mimicks a geological structure. The layers of stones are interrupted by friezes of white, concrete elements designed by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Inside the museum, Dutch designer Tord Boontje shows colorful wall panels, visual stories that blend photography and drawing to reveal the wonders of the natural world.

View project.

Photo credits: Scagliolabrakkee / © Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Text credits: Neutelings Riedijk Architects