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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

New Naturalis Biodiversity Center Winning Proposal in Leiden, Amsterdam by NEUTELINGS RIEDIJK ARCHITECTS

July 4th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal


Biodiversity Naturalis Leiden Center

Naturalis provides new building on the Darwinweg in Leiden, where at present, the museum is located. The reason is the merger with parts of the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University and Wageningen University. The construction leads to an extension of the current museum, laboratories and offices. For this project, five architects unanimously Neutelings Riedijk Architects chosen by a committee headed by Ton Idsinga, architectural historian.


The plan of Neutelings Riedijk Architects has the ambition to strengthen the ‘ensemble’ character of the existing buildings and supplement with building types and outdoor spaces that are currently lacking. The ultimate goal is to transform into a leading Biodiversity Center with a strong public appearance that is ready for the coming decades. The current building complex Naturalis in a clear way




All museum and public functions are housed in a new building next to the existing building. All non-museum functions such as offices, laboratories and depots are housed in the renovated old building and the tower. A central public hall connects the new and old building, connecting all functions together and simultaneously serves as the entrance of the ensemble.

This transparent hall is the heart of the Naturalis Complex. Visitors and employees come together there in, orient themselves with a direct view of all departments and from there choose their route through the building. It is an excellent place for public events and community gatherings. The exhibition halls, open the depot, the laboratioria, the public facilities and offices are all accessible and visible from the hall. In this way, the design reflects the cultural public-interest research on biodiversity.

By bringing together all the new museum spaces, the highest possible utility for the exhibition spaces are realized and the current Naturalis hardly need to be closed during the construction of the new building. By stacking these galleries creates a stepped volume with the large rooms downstairs are requested while the small rooms at the top are.

In the old building, all depots, laboratories and offices situated. The usefulness of the existing hull can be so used in the most optimal way. This separation between public a clear zoning functions (exhibition) in the new building and decided functions (research and depot) in the old building. Arises

For the materialization of the new facades will be based on robust materials that age with dignity, such as natural stone, glass and steel to ensure high quality.

Finally, on the southwest side a biodiverse garden area furnished and on the northeast side of a new public square that makes connection to the existing Leeuwenhoek Park. At the end of the garden there is room for a partially buried parking building. A public gallery connects the parking lot, the central hall, the square and the Leeuwenhoek Park.


Because the focus of the new Naturalis Biodiversity Center at the Leeuwenhoek Park will be located, will strengthen the relationship with the urban environment and downtown. The new museum wing gets an optimal location on the park and with its strong presence from afar for visitors who come to walk from Leiden Central. By the forecourt creates a pleasant urban residential area for pedestrians and cyclists and a front row for bus

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