Spronck Laboratory RIVM


Spronck Laboratory RIVM


In this laboratory, research is being performed on viruses and bacteria. This is being done under special safety conditions, in high containment and with a specified level of precaution, in this case biosafety Level (BSL) 3 and 4.

In the building people work with those micro-organisms which are highly contagious and cause serious diseases that may spread to the population and for which medicines or vaccinations are in some cases not available.

Inspired by the range of precaution measures, the architectural theme of this project is summarized in the twin phenomenon Filter and Fortress.

Filter for the good and fortress for the bad. Both have a correlation with safety for users and the environment.

Spronck Laboratory
Microbiological Diagnostic Laboratory (RIVM)
Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9
3721 MA Bilthoven



Client: Rijksgebouwendienst The Hague
User: RIVM Bilthoven
Design: Winfried van Zeeland (together with Ronny van Bakel, Michel Roels, Paul van der Vlis, Diedrick de Vilder)
Advisor technical installations: Deerns, Rijswijk
Landscape architect: Jan Boon
Contractor: Burgers Ergon, Eindhoven
GFA: 1.500 m2

For staff members, this building functions as a filter. Besides the (strict) security entrance and exit procedures and with the exclusion of the BSL-4 laboratory,  flow of employees is smooth. Daylighting is regulated through different kinds of windows and a special dedicated supply and exhaust airflow system makes it possible to work in fairly normal conditions.

To make sure no virus or bacteria is entering the atmosphere, the building functions as a fortress. This is translated in the design by using heavy prefabricated concrete facade panels.
These facade panels are uniform and treated with a three-dimensional pattern (polio DNA-code) used in the way dazzle camouflage is being used on military clothes, buildings and ships.

Laboratories are put on the first floor, together with changing rooms and sanitary rooms. Working in the BSL-4 laboratory is done in a hermetically sealed box made of stainless steel on the first floor. Technical equipment is organized on the ground floor and the so-called technical attic. In fact two-third of the total space is reserved for technical installations, serving the labs from below and from above.