‘Learning in comfort: from classrooms and conference rooms to harmonious study plaza’

‘Learning in comfort: from classrooms and conference rooms to harmonious study plaza’

Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Witte Dame

A number of programmes of the Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven can be found at the Witte Dame (the White Lady) – which has become something of an institution for the people in this city. Two storeys of this industrial heritage building have been transformed from an office- to an educational environment. And the natural rhythm of the building was used to design it. Gispen assisted us in drawing up a final concept and installed a well-thought-out and brand-new interior.


Creating extra space

Various programmes within Fontys University of Applied Sciences have increased in popularity and therefore extra storeys were occupied in the Witte Dame. The extra space is intended for the HRM and Psychology programmes and the Sittard teacher-training college. The storeys have been transformed into a place of education and pleasant learning. Gispen kicked-off by providing Fontys with a site layout plan, with additional office space and conference rooms and a central study plaza which is now the beating heart of the institution.

The client’s thoughts

‘The combination of flexibility and quality has even made management switch over to flexible working. This, in turn, has freed up some room for extra flex workstations. This was progressive insight based on the success of this transformation.’

‘This can only be achieved when you have a partner to share ideas with on the quality of the interior and the space as a final concept.’

Michel van der Zanden Senior Project Supervisor Accommodation at Fontys

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Glass makes things more transparent

The classrooms and workstations at the second and third floor share the same design. Fontys wanted the third floor to be more suitable for flex working, which really shows in the design of the completely new interior. The study plaza is truly the eye-catcher of the place, with loads of glass and a striking combination of different types of walls, floors and colours. Two informal lounges have been added to the study plaza. The offices adjacent to the hallway are also of glass, making the teachers much more accessible to the students.


Flexibility and interaction

Most students have two or even three devices on them. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building to support flexible working. Gispen made sure that the furniture provided extra power outlets. Another important requirement was that of good acoustics, ensuring that multiple working methods can be applied. This requires well-matched wall- and floor covering in combination with a well-thought-out interior. High sofas mark a dividing line between the different zones and also contribute to the acoustics of the room. The sofas have been upholstered in fabric and artificial leather which is easy to clean. There are is a variety of seat heights to choose from: alternating between high and low seating. This all contributes to the flexibility and interaction that Fontys envisioned.

The Business Manager’s thoughts

‘If you want to keep your students inside the building, then you must offer them a pleasant place to stay in. The place is most alive where you enter the building. So that won’t be a good area for installing workstations, but it would be suitable for installing coffee machines. We started by designing a gathering place and from there we started working on the area for focused working.’

‘How do students work and meet each other, and how will they do so in the near future? You must be ready for that’

Jeroen Verweij Business Manager Education at Gispen

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