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Danone Innovation Center

French multinational Danone has concentrated its European R&D activities in the area of medical and baby nutrition under the name Nutricia Research in the Science Park in Utrecht, which is developing quickly at the moment into a centre of scientific research and knowledge-intensive activity in the field of Life Sciences. There are more than 400 employees working in the new building. The programme includes a pilot plant, laboratories, offices, storage capacity, a conference centre, a café and a restaurant. The design focuses on the creation of an open, dynamic and inspiring environment with a high level of comfort and a large measure of functionality. It is characterized by considerable spatial diversity with long sight lines, so that users can find their bearings easily and also enjoy countless internal and external views. The principal structure consists of a quadrangular floor plan with two oblique sides, where two large recesses function as atriums. As a result, the building ultimately has three main bays. A promenade with elevated walkways that bridge the atriums is part of the logistic routing on the upper floors. Besides long sight lines and a varied experience, the spatial structure ensures diverse and efficient utilization of space, where the areas can be arranged entirely flexibly, offices and laboratories for instance are interchangeable and the means of access also offers possibilities for multi-tenant use. A so-called ‘plaza’ stretches out over a substantial part of the first floor and encompasses the floor slabs of both atria as well. A sky bar functions as an extension of the plaza below. The double-height plinth is completely transparent, which gives the building an inviting appearance and also provides a view of the activities inside. Above that, the building is horizontally articulated with alternating dark façade bands and high frameless strips of glazing. In accordance with cepezed tradition, the design is based on a strong rational grid and entirely realized with the aid of prefabricated building elements – one of the reasons it has gained a BREEAM-Excellent certificate for sustainability.

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