Nuon –building B in Leiden receives care location as main destination
In 2006 we were approached by housing corporation Portaal to transform the former Building B of the Nuon (an energy company) into ‘The New Energy’, a centre for the homeless and drug addicts, combined with other functions. This has provided for new job opportunities in this former spinning mill (Spinnerij).
We have ample experience with the revitalization of industrial heritage, but this project was special because of the specific new functions the building got. Besides an extended care facility (2500 m² of the total 8000 m²) for homeless people, the building also houses a group of starting small companies in the field of communication, called the ‘House of Communication’. Furthermore the housing corporation Portaal holds office there (1400 m²), as well as a restaurant/cantina.
In short, a multifunctional conglomerate, where all users form a part of the whole, with double use of the facilities. The building is so equipped, that its qualities can be economically used, which enables lower rent. Because of this, (neighborhood)people with limited means are also able to add to the social value and synergy of the place.
The building was originally constructed for a textile manufacturing company, and has a distinctive layout for a spinning mill; a large production hall on ground floor and the 1st floor, long facades with large windows, a monumental entrance and expanded staircases. Remarkable about this building is the use of prefab-shock concrete elements for the interior and the exterior, a material that was very modern at the time. Through the years the building was affected by lowered ceilings, increased floors, alterations to the façade by loading doors, but mostly by fences and closures.
The primary vision of our bureau is that function should always follow the shape of the building; the respect for the quality of a building is our starting point, then we find fitting functions and position them in the right places. Alterations should be possible, when they are legitimized.
We preserved the unity of the building, also with its surroundings, and have used it as a stimulator for a new areal development. The street visually continues into the public part of the building. The structure of the building has been maintained and strengthened, while the technical installations and isolation facilities were improved.
Portaal Leiden now has a functional and flexible industrial monument; a special housing for a special target audience.