Fontys Nexus

Ready for the future: a complement to the Brainport district.

The design challenge

was to transform a former TNO research building built for 500 researchers into an inspiring, inviting and future-proof learning environment for 2,500 students.

Through five targeted interventions

the austere and functional research building has been transformed into a sustainable and high-quality education building with a distinctive and entirely original identity.

Basement as hub

Initially, the 30,000m2 building was deemed too small to accommodate the three institutes: Engineering, Applied Sciences and Business Management, Education & Technology.

Careful analysis

of the spatial potential led to a solution: the dark basement was to be afforded habitable qualities.

A large mezzanine

has been carved out of the ground floor, and a gap in the roof lets ample natural light into the workshop, which now represents the hub of the Automotive school, part of Engineering.

The students here find themselves – quite literally –  surrounded by cars and technology.

Sustainable layout

A wide range of academic concepts is facilitated by the distribution of the courses over the different floors.

The 1st floor

is the communal floor, where future changes between courses will be accommodated.

The layout of the various floors is given structure by intersecting long corridors with open learning areas in strategic places, which serve as landmarks with light, air and sight.

These so called Maker Spaces are connected by a “ribbon”, a black steel frame that can be found throughout the entire building, which creates meeting spaces for students.

By moving the main entrance

 from the ground floor to the first floor the visitors enter at a central point, among the various technical schools.

On an urban planning level, this visibly connects the Fontys Nexus educational programme to the groene loper and academic buildings of the TU/e.

Hogwarts staircase

The heart of the education building is formed by the atrium. An inspirational place where visitors, students and lecturers meet and interaction is stimulated.

Originally an empty space

it has been transformed into a dynamic heart with a number of Hogwarts-inspired staircases.

The various courses are showcased along this interesting trail as an advertisement for Fontys Nexus.

An inspirational place

where visitors, students and lecturers meet and interaction is stimulated.

View of Brainport

The final element to the transformation is the machinery floor, which has been used as décor to create a unique learning environment

Housing exclusive teaching rooms, including the lecture hall, and offering views of Brainport Eindhoven, this is the perfect place in which to dream of creation and innovation.

Hidden qualities

The former TNO research building felt like an exploration into the world of CSI: long corridors with labs and offices full of secrecy and mystery.

Due to its construction from sturdy, quality materials, the building already had somewhat of a technical feel to it.

Thanks to the reuse of materials and upgrading of the existing infrastructure by means of a number of characteristic architectonic interventions, hidden qualities have been brought to the fore that demonstrate the building’s full potential.


Project Name: Fontys Nexus

Location: Eindhoven – Holland

Client: Fontys Hogescholen

Program: Technical University College: Engineering & Automotive, Applied Natural Sciences and Business Management, Education & Technology

Design: December 2016

Completion: September 2019

Floor Area: 27385 m², 

Co-architect: EGM architecten

Interior architect: Studio Groen+Schild

Landscape architect: MTD landschapsarchitecten

Engineer & Build team: Build2Learn, bouwcombinatie van Heerkens van Bavel, Berghege

Structural plan: Goudstikker de Vries

Tender specification, contract and project management: HEVO B.V.

Photocredit: BASE Photography

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