FOM Institute AMOLF, Amsterdam


Amsterdam, Netherlands
FOM Institute AMOLF
Year of completion:
9,570 m²
Mecanoo (Interior Design)

Research and architecture combined in functional design.

Located at the edge of Watergraafsmeer, in the Science Park Amsterdam, the AMOLF Institute is dedicated to furthering research and developing technological innovations in nanophotonics, molecular biophysics, and photovoltaics.

The facility accommodates 140 scientists and 60 support staff. The program is divided between three parallel volumes: a narrow wing containing workspaces, a central volume containing laboratories and installations, and a wider support wing containing workshops. The volumes are enveloped by a concrete outer shell, perforated with windows to allow large amounts of natural light to enter the building.

Interior streets bridge the volumes, providing seamless and intuitive connections within the building whilst simultaneously protecting the experimentation spaces, which are sensitive to vibrations. Systems ensure that the laboratories are kept at a precise and consistent temperature. In addition, humidity and pressure levels can be manipulated to ensure perfect conditions for various scientific works.

The largely self-supporting outer façade is rendered in a patchwork of green concrete elements. Textural and colour differences in these elements creates a graduated site response, helping to anchor the building with its wider context.