Durable + Transparent

Public health and environment institute

The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has been moved to the Utrecht Science Park (De Uithof), together with the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board. A tender was issued for the construction of the new building, offering a DBFMO contract for a term of 25 years. Close cooperation between the team members of the Strukton/Hurks/Heijmans Consortium, which H+N+S was part of, resulted in a durable, compact and transparent building.


Three different teams proposed respective designs for the new RIVM building and, in 2013, the winning design was awarded to the consortium, which H+N+S Landscape Architects was part of. Construction of the new Institute has begun and will be completed by mid-2018.

Collaborative spaces

The building offers 70.000 m 2 of floor space for the RIVM and the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB). The design presents a bright and open structure, featuring large spaces and atriums where collaborative initiatives and meetings can be held. A third of the new building is dedicated to laboratories. All office and laboratory workstations are located at the front of the building.

The qualities of the area are integrated into one, continuous, capacious space

The large, loft rooms in the tower function as the ‘green lungs’ of the building, creating an attractive climate.  In addition, they provide space for residences and attractive meeting places, looking out onto greenery. The atrium gardens are designed to reflect the surrounding landscape: the polder landscape, the Kromme Rhine landscape, and the city of Utrecht.


Sustainable and high-tech

The powerful visual combination of green plinths at the base of the transparent high-rise, clearly marks the building as a sustainable and high-tech research institute. Other notable aspects of the design include the distinctive entrance, the bicycle facilities, the amenities (restaurant, grand café and conference centre) and the special laboratories.


Three outdoor spaces are integrated into the ground floor plan: the private restaurant garden on the west façade; the publically accessible entrance plaza and seating on the east façade; and the partially covered courtyard on the south side. The majority of roofs on the building are green.

Breeam certificate

Sustainability was a crucial priority in the design of the building. The building utilises (amongst other initiatives) green roofs and walls that positively contribute towards meeting the energy needs of the building, reduce CO2 levels, temporarily hold rainwater and provide a natural habitat for birds and insects.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is an internationally recognised certificate for assessing the sustainability of buildings. The design for the new RIVM building has been awarded the highest possible ranking on this scale: ‘Outstanding’. This is the first time that a PPP (Public Private Partnership) has been assessed as ‘outstanding’. This is the highest score ever achieved for a project of this size and complexity. The design meets 94% of the BREEAM requirements.