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New Physics and Chemistry building named after Nobel Prizewinner Zernike

12 March 2014

The huge new building for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Groningen will be named 'Zernikeborg'. The name commemorates Frits Zernike, one of the Netherlands' most famous physicists and winner of a Nobel Prize. The Zernikeborg will have a floor area of 49,900m2 and will be constructed in two phases on the east side of Zernike Campus Groningen. The first phase will start in 2015.

Frits Zernike (1888-1966)
Frits Zernike (1888-1966)

Zernike inextricably linked to Groningen

The Groningen professor Frits Zernike (1888-1966) is mainly famous for the invention of the phase-contrast microscope, for which discovery he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1953. ‘Zernike's name is inextricably linked to the natural sciences so we really wanted the new Physics and Chemistry building to carry his name,” explains Jan de Jeu, Vice President of the Board of the University.

Another Zernikeborg?

However, another University building is currently named after Zernike; the Donald Smits Center for Information Technology (CIT). “CIT has agreed to gift the name Zernikeborg to its logical owner, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. A new name will be found for the building housing CIT,’ explains De Jeu.

Zernikeborg: a striking and future-proof building

A team of design specialists is currently working on the building design. With a floor area of 49,900m2, it will be a prominent feature of the entry to Zernike Campus Groningen. The new Zernikeborg will have 16,500m2 of laboratories, 17.000m2 of office space and 10,000m2 of teaching areas and it will cater for 1400 Bachelor's and Master's students and 850 staff members, divided over at least six research institutes and the relevant support departments. As such, the building will have the flexibility to absorb any growth or contraction of the Faculty in the future.

Special laboratories in a highly sustainable building

Alongside general chemical, biochemical and physics laboratories, the Zernikeborg will also house special laboratory installations with highly specific ambient conditions. These laboratories will be brought together in the Research Cluster: a building within the main building on a floating foundation which will provide the right climate conditions and a low-vibration environment for laser installations and electron microscopes. Despite the large number of laboratories, the Faculty has high sustainability ambitions for the new building. The aim is at least a BREEAM-NL rating of ‘Very Good’, but the real ambition is to be awarded an ‘Excellent’.

East wing

Construction will take place in two phases. Phase 1 will be a building to the south of the existing building on the site of the P5 car park. Much of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system will be installed during this first phase, including the heating and cooling system. Phase 2 will be built on the site of the east wings of the current building. The final plans for the construction phases and the relocation plan will be drawn up in the near future.

Building schedule

The contours of the new building will become more or less finalized by August 2014 and the building plans should be nearly complete by March 2015. The first research institutes should be able to relocate to the first phase building in early 2019, after which work will start on the second phase. After the Bernoulliborg (2007) and the Linnaeusborg (2010), this will be the third new building to be constructed for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

See also the press release: Ector Hoogstad Architecten to design new Physics and Chemistry building of University of Groningen

Last modified:14 September 2021 1.19 p.m.
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