exterior image NAI

H e t   N i e u w e   N A I

The New NAI (Het Nieuwe Nieuwe Architectuur Instituut) will be the inspiration for the architecture. People will come here to get inspired, to gain knowledge, to experiment and to relax. Each of these experiences take place in their own part of the building.

The assignment for this project was to design a new NAI ('the old building caught fire'). The NAI is an institute for art, fashion and architecture. Its location is in the Rotterdam museum park, among a couple of other well-known museums. Requested were an entrance, exhibition areas, a library, an archive, workshop spaces, offices, a cafe and a terrace. To design a building with a strong concept which is also very sustainable.
This was my final Bachelor project 2016.


Inspiration for Architecture


1. Explore, 2. Inspire, 3. Knowlegde,
4. Experiment, 5. Relax

The building is has a concrete structure which is visible on the outside. The facade is made out of prefab concrete elements that are 5 meters wide and 4 meters high. The windows are placed within this grid, creating a structured play in these glass features.
In the new NAI it is all about the five experiences. These experiences should be undertaken separately so that people can focus on one experience at the time and give that their full attention. That is why each of them take place in a different part of the building. These parts of the building each have different forms and heights to emphasize this.
The interior is the same for each building part. They are big and open spaces, where the concrete appearance acts as a blanc canvas for all the art that can be displayed in the building.
The institute is located perpendicular to the park. To embrace this new building the design of the park continues around the new NAI, which makes it part of the museumpark.

facade north west

Facade North West

facade north east

Facade North East

location plan

Location plan

You enter the building on the groundfloor in de foyer. This is a 14 meters high space with a glass facade and roof, which makes it very welcoming and open to public. It makes you want to explore the building. Around the foyer there is a hallway which connects the different building parts to each other. Except for this being a walking route, it is also a moment of peace and quiet before one enters the next experience.
The exhibition halls are big and spacious, therefore they are very flexible when it comes to changing the exhibitions that could be held in there. This is where one gets inspired.
After this it is time to gain more knowledge. This is to be done in the library and archive. This area is three floors high. Even though the archive is not always accessible, there should be interaction with the public. This can be done via media which shows the 'hidden archive' on screens. It is also possible to enter the hallways connected to the archive and looking in there through the glass windows. The reason for this viewing on screen or behind the glass is because the archive has a certain indoor climate that needs to be kept.
In the workshop rooms people can experiment with what they have learned at the institute.
Finally, it is time to relax and take everything in. People can enjoy a warm coffee or even have lunch after their day full of experiences.


Cellar - Archive


ground floor

Ground floor - Foyer, exhibitions, library and archive, office and workshops, cafe

ground floor

first floor

First floor - Exhibitions, library and archive, office and workshops

first floor

second floor

Second floor - Exhibitions, library and archive

second floor

third floor

Third floor - Exhibitions

third floor


Roof - Solar panels and water storage

In this project it was important to focus on different aspect within the design. The concept of the five experiences led to the esthetics of the building. However, other aspects such as building construction, loadbearing construction, climate design and sustainability were important as well.
These elements determine if the building is strong, healthy, comfortable and sustainable enough, etc. The images below describe how these aspects are implemented in the new NAI.

Building construction

Building construction
The building has a concrete structure: it consists out of hollow-core slab floors and roofs with an insulating layer on top of that. This layer consists out of insulation, cavity and prefab concrete elements or a green-roof.

Loadbearing construction

Loadbearing construction
The concrete walls carry the hollow-core slab floors and roof. In some of the bigger rooms steal columns are placed making the biggest span for the floors one of 12500 mm.
The glass roof of the foyer is carried by trusses with a length of 15 meters and a height of 1 meter.

climate design

Climate design
Because of the size of the exhibition halls and the library most of the building uses mechanical ventilation. Every area has its own air handling unit, located in the basement.
Floor heating is applied in areas with public access in order to ensure a comfortable living space. This is driven by a heat pump.
Rainwater is collected in storage tanks above the toilets in the foyer. This water is used to flush the toilets.
Solar panels are placed on top of the roof as well as pv-cells within the glass roof above the foyer. These crystalline cells collect energy from the sun, without blocking the view or the light coming in.


The applications that contribute to the sustainability of the building are the following: the construction of the facade (high insulation, low maintenance, high life expectancy, fire proof), green roof, rainwater collection, heat pump, solar panels and green environment.


All these applications mean that the building has received an A-label for sustainability.

Because the importance of the different experiences and the different building parts that accompany them, it only seemed right to find the best way to show this in a model.
This turned out to be a section model. The building in cut twice through the lenght of the building, leaving a the core of the building in which all the buildingparts are attached to each other.
When looking at the front side (section A) one can see the interior of the foyer, the exhibitions and the cafe. When looking at the back side (section B) one can see the library with the archive and the workshop spaces.


Model section A


Model section B

Programs used for this project are: Sketch-up, Photoshop, AutoCad and InDesign.