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In the 1990s, cepezed designed an eye-catching company building for the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR), which tests the working of medicines and their side effects. Because of the company’s growth, we designed this new building years later, directly adjacent to the existing one at the Bio Science Park in Leiden.

  • client(s)
  • Centre for Human Drug Research
  • location
  • Leiden
  • user(s)
  • Centre for Human Drug Research
  • expertise
  • architects
luuk kramer

Threefold division over eight levels  

The new building consists of a volume measuring 22.5 by 34 metres, with eight levels above ground and an underground car park. Parking space is also available on the surrounding terrain and at ground level within the contours of the building. From front to back, the building is divided into three unequal strips.

jannes linders

The foremost strip  

The first part along the Zernikedreef contains the entrance, reception desk and a modest auditorium on the ground floor. Above that, you find meeting rooms and offices, but also the inspection rooms and a green roof terrace.

jannes linders
michiel plas

The middle strip  

In the middle, there is an amenity zone with toilets, two completely transparent lifts and two linked cascade staircases that also function as escape route. In the event of fire, the staircases are separated by a fire-resistant curtain that descends automatically.

jannes linders

The rearmost strip  

The strip at the rear contains the company restaurant with a generous void and façades that can largely be opened. Here you also find a high-care zone, a research laboratory with a pharmacy connected to it, a dark room and various storage and freezing facilities.

The top floor consists of sleeping quarters (hotel rooms) for long-term stays, with a living room adjacent to the patio cum roof garden.

jannes linders
jannes linders

Sustainable construction  

The load-bearing construction consists of a slender steel skeleton combined with hollow-core slab floors. The façades have been implemented fully flush. On the north side they are made completely of glass and on the other sides with horizontal articulation: alternating strip windows with sections that can be opened, and sandwich panels with a white enamelled glass exterior plate.

A solar panel heats the boiler water, while for heating and cooling, the building is linked to a district heating system covering the entire business park. The district heating system is in turn connected to a thermal heat storage system.

jannes linders
jannes linders

Honourable distinctions  

For the CHDR design, use was made of an integral Building Information Model, which allowed the various consultants to align their designs well.

Shortly after the building was taken into use, it won the Leiden Architecture Prize 2013. It also took second place in the competition for the best office building 2014. The organizer of the latter competition, internet magazine Intermediair, which has a well-qualified readership, wrote: ‘A wonderful design that supports a creative and multidisciplinary way of working like no other building.’

jannes linders


  • client: centre for human drug research
  • interior design: fokkema & partners architects
  • stability: swinn
  • building services: deerns
  • building physics & sustainability: dgmr
  • main contractor: duprie bouw & ontwikkeling
  • contractor building services electrical: randstad
  • contractor building services mechanical: putman
  • contractor steel construction: oskomera
  • façades: oskomera

awards & nominations

  • best office building | 2014 | second place
  • leiden architecture prize | 2013 | jury prize
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