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

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 Engineering & Automotive school.

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

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.

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.

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.

The fourth floor

– the former machinery floor- is now housing exclusive teaching rooms.

Including a lecture hall 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.

Basement as hub

Initially, the 30,000m2 building was deemed too small to accommodate the three schools: Engineering & Automotive, Applied Sciences and Business Management, Education & Technology. But careful analysis of the spatial potential led to a solution: the dark basement was to be afforded habitable qualities.


Sustainable layout

A wide range of academic concepts is facilitated by the distribution of the courses over the different floors. Automotive is located in the basement, Engineering on the ground floor, labs are on the 2nd floor and Business Management on the top floor. The 1st floor is the communal floor, where future changes between courses will be accommodated. The final element to the transformation is the machinery floor, which has been used as décor to create a unique learning environment.


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: August 2019

Floor Area: 29000 m², 

Co-architect: EGM architecten

Interior architect: Studio Groen+Schild

Landscape architect: MTD landschapsarchitecten

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

Photocredit: BASE Photography

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