Evoluon - an evolving icon

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Visitors to Eindhoven might be surprised to find a UFO-like structure on the city skyline. That came into being thanks to a commission made by Frits Philips back in the 1960s. The thinkers behind it were Louis Kalff - who was the head of Philips' design department at the time - and Leo de Bever, independent architect. Louis Kalff was approaching 70 years of age and was at the tail end of his career, while the young 35 year old Leo de Bever was full of new ideas and inspiration. Frits Philips said he wanted an iconic building. Strangely enough, he had no specified purpose for it except that "it should be great". In later years the Evoluon's function was adapted for exhibition use and to hold congresses, which it still does to this day. Eindhoven-Life spoke to the son of the recently knighted Leo de Bever, Stefan, who has carried on the De Bever architecture profession and company name for the fourth generation.

Stefan de Bever cannot help but think of future possibilities for the Eindhoven icon: "Practically everyone has a say about the Evoluon. Personally, I think there needs to be another, new Evoluon next to the original one. Its surroundings are just beautiful, and it would be great to have the original Evoluon as a sort of pavilion, surrounded by a new structure, or sculpture and other new iconic, innovative buildings, which people could maybe work in or visit. People could then come out every so often and gather inside the main Evoluon building."

De Bever Architecten is 115 years old, and responsible for many other structures in Eindhoven such as the original Eindhoven Airport as well as its current redevelopment. They are also the original architects of the Catherina Hospital, and a few years ago they were commissioned to design its parking garage and its faade artwork. "Our company's goal has always been to make nicer spaces - that might be a building, which is quite static, or a piece of art, or even small interior products - anything really," says Stefan. As yet, no official plans for future adaptations to the Evoluon have been made; however, Stefan can't help but keep adding to his dossier of exciting new ideas for the building and the land around it.

The Evoluon is usually only open for private functions and conferences, and is never open to the general public; however, this Summer (July-August) the Evoluon will open its doors for everyone to come and see inside. It will house the Brain Experience, an family event on the theme of the brain.

Evoluon facilities
At the front of the Evoluon and service building there are:

  • Entrance
  • Reception rooms
  • Cloakroom
  • Meeting rooms
  • Film theatre
  • Offices
  • Restaurant (for 300 people)

At the east side there are:

  • Auditorium with 450 seats
  • Audio/Visual Equipment
  • Foyer
  • Cloakroom
  • Separate entrance

Facts & figures
- Triangular terrain of 5.8 hectare, donated by the City of Eindhoven
- Diametre of the dome and reflection pont is 77m
- Highest point 32m
- 3 concentric exhibition rings 10m wide = a total of 6000 m2 exhibition space
- Total weight of Evoluon is 21.000 tonnes
- Lower dish 3 x 96 pieces of pre-fab concrete lower dish elements between 1.5 to 15.5 tonne per piece
- 12 "V" shaped concrete support columns
- Light/radar tower 60m high, 3m diametre
- Construction above dome 822, 6-sided pre-fab concrete pyramid shaped elements of 1.2 tonne per piece

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Mark
United Kingdom

Remember going to this place as a kid when it was the Philips Museum. It was the highlight of the trip. the place was magical for a young child. I honestly thought we'd be flying around with jetpacks soon thereafter!

Reply Nov 7th, 2012