De Bunker

Living, Working

In 2015 Powerhouse Company had the opportunity to repurpose De Bunker, a derelict community and student centre designed by Hugh Maaskant, an influential Dutch post-war architect. Opened in 1970 as Eindhoven University of Technology’s (TU/e) new student centre, the building was later sold as part of an optimisation strategy of campus real estate. Powerhouse Company, in collaboration with RED Company and BEING Development—the building’s new owners—proposed to restore the building to it’s original glory while adding more workspaces and housing through a high-rise extension.


De Bunker in 1970

De Bunker, sketch by Hugh Maaskant

Adding new programme

Real estate strategy

De Bunker belongs to Maaskant’s late work, when his modernist signature was replaced by a more brutalist and non-dogmatic approach. Although significant, it is not one of Maaskant’s more renowned works. The initial plans to allocate monumental status to the building would have placed severe restrictions on the renovations. A more viable alternative to preserve the building while keeping it lively was to add new programme. Working together with the developers as well as a monument specialist, Powerhouse Company envisioned a strategy to introduce mixed-use functions in the existing building complemented with a new residential high-rise above.


Ground floor

First floor

Second floor

11th floor

15th floor

21st floor

Celebrating the existing vocabulary

Architectural references

Instead of emphasising the contrast between the new verticality and the existing horizontality, we structured the elevation into three parts that gradually transform the modernist low-rise volume into a contemporary high-rise. Based on a thorough investigation of Maaskant’s architecture, the new design reinterprets De Bunker’s distinguishing traits—the slanted walls, horizontal volume, opposing orthogonal and angled geometry, stark details and use of raw materials such as stone, timber and aluminium.



Opposing identities

Originally envisioned as a link between the university and the city, De Bunker is the only TU/e building located outside the main campus. This unique location in a low-rise residential neighbourhood inspired Powerhouse Company to design an ambiguous building with two faces: from the residential neighbourhood, the new tower arises seamlessly from the original building. But approaching from the city, it emerges from behind Maaskant’s sleek building as a series of stacked volumes. The characteristic horizontal/angled dynamism of Maaskant’s building is retained in these two different faces of the tower.


The building site on the outskirts of TU Eindhoven campus


Participatory process

Community consultation

To address the concerns of local residents and stakeholders such as the local historic preservation board, the project was reviewed and fine-tuned during an intensive one-year-long participatory process coordinated by Powerhouse Company. As a result, the final design received approval from all sides. The entire complex will also be appointed municipal monumental status, making it both the youngest monument from the early 1970s and the youngest 21st-century monument in Eindhoven. After completion, De Bunker will not only be a celebration of Hugh Maaskant’s legacy, but also a source of pride for the University, the city of Eindhoven and its inhabitants.

  • Time span
    2015 –
  • Type
    Living, Working
  • Status
  • Client
    RED Company & Being Development
  • Location
    Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  • Size
  • Budget
  • Partner in charge
    Nanne de Ru, Stijn Kemper
  • Project leader
    Stijn Kemper
  • Team
    Nanne de Ru, Stijn Kemper, Antonia Pohankova, Bjørn Andreassen, Daan Masmeijer, Dik Houben, Erwin van Strien, Gert Ververs, Max Tala Nossin, Meagan Kerr, Peter Lee, Robbert Verheij, Stefan de Meijer, Thomas Ponds, Erik Hoogendam, Hanna Haczek, Joanna Gizelska, Luke Vermeulen, Mathias Maierhofer, Matteo Pavanello, Mike Hansen, Philip Weber, Ryanne Janssen, Sven Jansse
  • Structural engineering
    IMD Raadgevende Ingenieurs
  • Installation engineering