The building has an open and welcoming design to encourage as much connection as possible. It brings together various functions for Unilever while also providing communal collaborative space to build purposeful partnerships and encourage fast, agile innovation.

Called Hive, it is integrated within the campus and has the feel of a modern faculty. The ground floor is an open area where Unilever, researchers, students, start-ups, customers and others can come together and build a better future of tasty, sustainable food.

Concept developed through discussions with small team

Royal HaskoningDHV was involved with the development of the building from a very early stage, working with a small team of high-level decision makers from Unilever. “It was through these discussions that the concept emerged,” explained Pepijn Schoonhoven, Senior Consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV. “It is an office, production and research building all in one. There are areas to concentrate and collaborate in the office environment and large professional kitchens where recipes are formulated, meals are prepared and products demonstrated. When visitors enter the community area, they have a direct view into the test factory, where on pilot plant scale batches are produced and tested for scale.”

Expertise across research, production and office buildings

From these discussions, we produced the functional, spatial and technical programme of requirements as well as the conceptual design. Our knowledge and expertise across all the desired functions was key for developing the detail as it was not possible to consult more widely across Unilever at such an early stage. We also assisted in discussions with Wageningen University & Research over identifying and acquiring the plot and were involved in selecting the design team.

From these discussions, we produced the functional, spatial and technical programme of requirements as well as the conceptual design. Our knowledge and expertise across all the desired functions was key for developing the detail as it was not possible to consult more widely across Unilever at such an early stage. We also assisted in discussions with Wageningen University & Research over identifying and acquiring the plot and were involved in selecting the design team.

It is described by Pepijn as ‘a tornado of a project’, taking just three years from initiative to opening.

Flexibility and futureproofing for sustainable building

One special feature of the building is its flexibility for future uses. Our structural and technical design enables space for offices and laboratories to be interchangeable. This means Unilever and any future owner of the building can adjust and re-allocate the space in line with their needs. The flexibility and futureproofing supported Unilever in its ambition to create one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

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  • Client
    Unilever
  • Location
    Wageningen
  • Period
    2016 - 2019
  • Scope
    Incorporating large number of varying facilities into a single building
  • Solution
    Design brings together various functions while also providing communal collaborative space to build purposeful partnerships and encourage fast, agile innovation