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The Secret of the Nano

2009 — 2013. Delft, The Netherlands

The new research building in the field of nanotechnology – the Van Leeuwenhoek Laboratory in Delft – is designed by dhv Architects. 

It has (at a material level) a modern, abstract look, due to the use of steel cladding on the external facades. 

It houses a joint venture between tno Delft and the Technical University of Delft in the field of nanotechnology. Professor Cees Dekkers is the leader of this research. The building, because of its relatively low height and black colour, holds a relatively modest position on the tu-campus. Inside the building however, grand works are taking place on an extremely small scale. It is a magical world where, for example, instruments are calibrated with the aid of stars / against the night sky. Nanotechnology itself is an artwork– we are talking about one millionth of a millimetre. It is somewhat too small to, without magnifying it, create a visually lasting impression. Just like the well-known fact that you cannot up- or downscale a spider just like that – its legs would then give way – also a nanotechnology marvel cannot be rescaled without negative effects. Therefore a free interpretation.

With the long horizontal line of the building as a background, two large open cubes frivolously dance in the pond. Intimately intertwined they support each other, perfectly balanced, just like Delft University of Technology and tno. Each of the four sides of the cubes has nine openings, which are filled with leds. Thus – especially during evening and night time – the artwork becomes part of the starry sky. When a visitor crosses the walkway towards the entrance, a 

very surprising reference to what is taking place inside the building suddenly becomes visible. In the water a small frolicsome cube is floating – small with respect to the two large cubes. Also equipped with leds, this small diamond clearly displays its visual relation to the two large ones: this is the nano, the surprise created by the research partners.

  • 090518 Geheim van de Nano bij nacht
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