News - September 19, 2012

Highest point Orion reached

Reaching the top of Orion calls for a traditional celebration with 'pannenbier' (roof tile beer).

Almost one and a half years after the first pile was driven, it was time to celebrate again yesterday afternoon: to mark the occasion of having reached the highest point. This is the moment when builders and bobos pat one another on their shoulders. And that they did: commissioning institute Wageningen UR (represented by executive board member Tijs Breukink), architect Joost Ector, and builder Heijmans (represented by its chairman Rolf Abbringh). They also reflected on how complex the project can be, mainly due to the enormous lecture theatre.
The theatre with 746 seats hangs majestically above the ground floor. Looking at it is somewhat like looking at the underside of a football stadium. The steel structure which supports the entire construction is the most complex feature ever designed by architect Ector. In fact, he had wanted the theatre to hover completely, but that was technically not possible, says building pastor Jan-Hein Loedeman. A pair of giant pillars now guarantees that the theatre will remain in place.
Golden roof
The space below the theatre will house a student café. One thing is for sure: the café will have an impressive and colourful roof. The plaster boards between the pillars will be covered with gold coloured aluminium, explains Hoedeman. But it is still too early to imagine how this will look like. The innards of Orion are still blatantly exposed. But now that the highest point of the structure has been reached, the decorative work will soon begin. The building is scheduled for handing over sometime next spring.