Zernike West

Listen and You Might Learn Something

June 24, 2020

Growing, expanding, extending… all things that students’ minds do at university. However, when real estate is added to this scenario, things become a little more complicated. With a revamped campus coming up, how do you make sure everyone is on board while keeping -or even adding- space? We turned to our trusty card games to lend a voice to all stakeholders.

The University of Groningen is located in Groningen, also known as the City of Talent, the Netherlands. The university has had a global outlook for 400 years now – and continues to focus on its future. New social, educational and organizational needs lie ahead. These are accompanied by an increasing number of activities and the need for extra floor space. Therefore, the university is planning an upgrade of the West part of its Zernike Campus. The intelligent extension and sustainable use of its current real estate palette are crucial for this development.

Putting place and people first

The MasterPlan Zernike West needs to set the stage for the future play of the Zernike West Campus. The major idea is to create a second social hotspot to balance out the entire campus, coupled with a new face for the cluster of buildings that will become one of the campus’ main entrances. Above all, the MasterPlan needs to be adopted by its users. This means that not only students but also employees, educational and scientific staff are on board.
‘People give meaning to places,’ as Ivan Reis, the general manager of the São Paulo office of the Amsterdam-based communication firm BSUR once said. Taking this into consideration, we begin by listening to people before we start designing. With the help of our card games, we quickly scaled up and hundreds of students and staff were able to express their needs and opinions.

With the help of our card games, we quickly scaled up and hundreds of students and staff were able to express their needs and opinions.

Hélène IJsselstijn Hélène IJsselstijn Interior Architect at includi

From A to Zernike

We were very happy to integrate all this input into the designs. Over the course of several design workshops, a concept for the future urban design with an integrated architectural envelope was developed. The result is a new, strong identity. A winter garden is introduced to connect existing buildings but also houses a social hotspot. The lowered central square enhances the integration of all existing buildings and provides a low-key connection to the water. 

Project Credits

MasterPlan for Zernike West
Client: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Financial Shared Service Centre)
MasterPlan, Design concept, Strategy, User Investigation: includi
Team: Aat Vos, Eunice Ma en Hélène IJsselstijn
3D images impression Masterplan: includi
Image: includi