Jheronimus Academy of Data Science
The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science is housed in the former monastery Mariënburg, right in the heart of Den Bosch. This is the home of a brand-new, innovative and internationally-oriented programme, which is set on historic ground. Gispen has provided the new community with an inspiring home base, and has done so in close consultation with BiermanHenket.
From pop-up structure to permanent home
Its current educational function is not new to the former monastery. For years on end, the monastery accommodated nuns who also provided education. One could say that educating people is in the DNA of this monastery. Today, the listed property houses the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science – a joint effort between the universities of Tilburg and Eindhoven. They have developed a brand-new Master’s programme in Data Science. The monastery now serves as a permanent home for this new community. At first, they were operating from a pop-up structure: JADS was supposed to move into the main building, but the programme started one academic year prior to the completion of the building. However, JADS did have the intention to start connecting with the new location in Den Bosch. This is why one of the wings of the monastery was transformed into a pop-up university for the first academic year.
The architect’s thoughts
“Providing the new programme with its own identity, creating a home base for a new group of users in a renovated building. A project that demands custom-made furniture, as well as high quality standard-range products, of course. From Nomi chairs to Outline lighting; Gispen has provided suitable products in close consultation with us. We have had pleasant meetings together; we complemented each other well.”
In close consultation with the architect
BiermanHenket architects has fully renovated the monastery. The main building is now completely at the disposal of the students, lecturers and staff members of JADS. The adjacent wings accommodate startups and companies that have close ties with students and rented out apartments to (international) students. BiermanHenket architects also took care of the interior design of the renovated complex. Eindhoven University of Technology asked Gispen to furnish the new lecture rooms and accompanying offices and workstations, providing that the designs were in line with the architect’s vision. What followed is a close collaboration between the two parties. The owner of the building, Kadans, asked Gispen to furnish various offices for startups and companies as well.
New community with its own identity
Architect Yvonne Segers: “The two universities wanted to establish a new community with its own identity. In terms of housing, we wanted to base our design upon that of the existing building, a traditional monastery: a robust and solid building with terrazzo floors, high ceilings and windows with a view of the monastery gardens. At the same time, the building was to be occupied by a new type of user, moving at a much higher speed. We have continuously searched for the right balance between the inertness of the historic atmosphere of the building and the swift and innovative identity of Data Science.” Rob Allard, Gispen Business Manager: “This combination of old and new is found throughout the building, right down to the installed furniture.”
Lecture rooms and workstations
The main building of JADS includes various lecture- and instruction rooms, which are furnished with (Gispen UT) tables and chairs or chairs with folding trays. In addition, there are smaller rooms where one can hold a meeting or work on a project, This is where the Nomi chair can be found, a collection of chairs that – due to its removable covers and various colours – offers a great many options for creating an own identity; each storey of this building has its own recognisable colour. A nice touch: the colour schemes are based on paintings by Jeroen Bosch (‘Jheronimus’). A vast lecture hall for holding debates and giving presentations has been created in the chapel – the layout and furnishing is modular and therefore easily transformed. In addition to the lecture rooms, there are workstations for staff members and lecturers to be found, as well as ‘study islands’ for the Master’s students. The workstations – consisting of TM desks for-two, Zinn office chairs and SDK sliding-door cabinets – are all suitable for agile working. The JADS plaza is what forms the heart of the building, where one can have lunch or hold a meeting, while sitting on one of the Sett sofas, for example.
The partner’s thoughts
“The phased delivery posed a large logistical challenge to all the suppliers, including Gispen. We did form a great team; Gispen listened, shared its ideas. I can truly say that we pulled it off together. I have also been in close contact with Gispen’s fitters, who installed all the furniture on site. This project is a perfect example of what teamwork should be like.”
The final completion was preceded by a logistical challenge. The renovations took longer than expected, which meant that the already manufactured furniture could not be delivered according to schedule. Temporary storage was needed, and Gispen contacted Johan Brugman, moving- and furnishing coordinator at Eindhoven University of Technology, for a solution. Rob Allard of Gispen: “How can we store the furniture as (cost) efficiently as possible and eventually supply it all as quickly as possible? We succeeded in doing so thanks to a very constructive partnership with Johan.” Johan Brugman: ”A proper joint preparation has ensured that we were able to supply everything in a very short period of time – three days in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.”
Photography: Joep Jacobs