An abundance of light and colour

An abundance of light and colour

University of Twente

The University of Twente has been called a playground for architects. Architects such as Piet Blom, Van Emden and Van Tijen were active there, Jan Hoogstad was involved in the Masterplan for some time and Hagoort and Defesche designed the lecture hall complex ‘De Waaier’ in 1995. The latest contribution comes from jefvandenputte architectuur and OD205 architectuur, who renovated and expanded De Waaier together. 

De Waaier is a striking building. The university restaurant bathes in natural light and white is the dominating colour. A place where you can sit down on one of the lounge sofas and take a load off.

Light and space

Two large lecture halls were joined together, but can still be separated at any time due to the flexible system. The university restaurant and various rooms for academic ceremonies can be found in the new extension of the building. The new wing is both an extension of the existing building and a spacious sensation of its own. Two long and narrow voids in between the main building and the extension allow daylight to shine through the restaurant from all directions, making it a spacious place to be in. The white plaster walls inside and the fresh concrete on the façade give the building a neutral and relaxing atmosphere.  

Jef van den Putte: ‘Light and space are essential architectonic elements for me. We therefore used neutral materials such as concrete, glass and white plaster. By using open voids that direct light into the building, we have literally created a spacious experience by means of light. This variation is what gives the area its own distinctive character, which in turn is amplified by the interior and the wonderful view outside.’


White & colour

Together with the Facility Service Centre of the University of Twente and Gispen, Van den Putte devised the furnishing plan for the lecture halls, the restaurant and the various public defence rooms. ‘The furniture that we selected for the restaurant is mostly finished in a neutral white, to which we added brightly coloured lounge areas for contrast. These lounge areas have soft felt sofas and high-gloss plastic armchairs placed on rugs and illuminated with large dome-style lamps. This creates an almost homely atmosphere. It is just wonderful to see students sitting there, taking off their shoes without being asked to do so, and working or talking a bit. This means that the idea we had envisioned also works in practice.’  



The colour scheme of the lecture halls (for 460 and 295 people) is exactly the other way around: a neutral grey and white on the walls, red and fuchsia chairs forming a riot of colours. The smaller of the two halls, where public defence and other ceremonies take place, is more subtle. ‘This is where we created a more congenial atmosphere with dimmed lighting from the ceiling-high glass panels. A Braille pattern has been incorporated into the acoustic panels, which is actually a quote from Einstein, serving as inspiration for students and PhD candidates: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” I think this is a beautiful quote which, if you ask me, can be an inspiration to us all.’

Inspiring products included in this project