Construction of Unilever’s Global Foods Innovation Centre has officially begun. According to the architects, the new complex will be the most sustainable building in the Netherlands.
© Didi de Vries
Between 150 and 200 people were present at the official start of construction on the new Unilever complex. Speakers included Maarten Camps, the highest official at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Aalt Dijkhuizen, Louise Fresco and Paul Polman, the Unilever’s CEO.
The official programme had been altered because employees of a Unox plant (one of Unilever’s brands) were demonstrating. They demanded to speak with Paul Polman to express their dissatisfaction with the new employment terms connected to the sale of the factory. Because of the demonstration, the festive start of construction was moved from the building site to the atrium of Plus Ultra.
© Didi de Vries
According to Paul de Ruiter, the building’s architect, Unilever’s Global Foods Innovation Centre will be the most sustainable and circular building in the Netherlands. ‘This starts with the construction work itself. Much of the material that we are going to use is recycled, for example 90% of the glass.’ The design and the layout of the building should invite students and staff of WUR to walk inside to find inspiration.
Unilever’s personnel will be able to enjoy an ultramodern and energy-conserving workplace. The spacing between the windows, for example, will provide a lot of outside daylight, and an innovative air treatment system will regulate the supply of fresh air. The building will be heated and cooled by underground heat storage, and solar panels will supply part of the electricity. Moreover, water-saving toilets will reduce water consumption, and the indoor climate will be regulated by thermal sensors.
The Global Foods Innovation Centre, which should be ready in the summer of 2019, will be located between Plus Ultra and Friesland Campina.