Design questions and opportunities
The new entrance area, an initiative by Yisheng Development, presents a wonderful opportunity to create an extraordinary location and add value to the city of Leiden. Paul de Ruiter Architects and VenhoevenCS are collaborating to develop an area where co-working spaces, large open outdoor areas, green oases and courtyard gardens ensure that campus life amounts to more than just studying, conducting research and living.
The questions that preoccupied us at the design phase were: "How do you ensure that expats who are in Leiden for only a short while feel welcome from the moment they arrive and are quickly integrated into the community? How do you make an 18-year-old student who has left his parents' warm nest for the very first time feel at home in the entrance area? How do you make this area an inseparable part of the city, and how do you create a close-knit community from an international collection of students, teachers, expats and Leiden residents?"
A vibrant campus community
The answer is Park MORE, a name that refers both to the utopian ideas of the 16th-century philosopher and statesman Thomas More and to the shared ambitions of this plan. Park MORE comprises roughly 1,200 rental homes and a hotel, mainly intended for students, young professionals, and local and international university staff. The mix of shared facilities and communal areas, within the buildings as well as in the park and on roof terraces, will help foster a vibrant community of students and campus residents that other Leiden locals and workers will also find appealing.
Thermal comfort and general habitat-related wellbeing depend a great deal on how much daylight, fresh air and space we have access to, so our design prioritises daylight admission, air quality via year-round natural ventilation and heat recovery in winter, and underfloor heating. The campus will be largely car-free, and homes close to the busy Plesmanlaan will come with sound-absorbing facades. Finally, buildings will be oriented in a way that creates microclimates beneficial to the wellbeing of not only people, but also flora and fauna.