New location for Fontys Engineering students

Ambience photo Fontys

Fontys building for your future

Relocation of Technology study programmes Eindhoven to TU/e campus.
Rachelsmolen campus development: what image should this campus portray in 2024?

The aim of re-accommodating the Technology study programmes in Eindhoven is to encourage internal and external cooperation, to create a recognisable identity and to facilitate new learning and working concepts." These ambitions are the central focus behind the design of the new building.

Learning is a social activity

Bringing people together is a central goal. Optimising such connections is essential for the transfer and sharing of knowledge. The building is a place that represents a connection point for students, lecturers and partners from industry. The rooms within the building will stimulate thinking and creativity. The building needs to be a calling card; a place that inspires and has a magnetic effect; a place people are proud of. Once inside, the users can show the world what they are doing; it is a place to feel and perceive technology at work. In the interior design, our aim is to combine people, space, activities and knowledge.” This then is the vision of the architects in response to the design commission from Fontys.

Ambience photo Fontys Ambience photo Fontys

The building

According to the interior architects, “The teaching building will in essence consist of two types of zones; meeting zones and teaching zones.

Meeting zones

The aim of the meeting zones is to encourage communication, to stimulate new ideas and to facilitate the spontaneous exchange of knowledge, while the teaching zones, with their wide variety of rooms and spaces will support the modern approach to teaching. The meeting zones are expressive and each will have a unique character. The entrance hall, the individual school blocks, the restaurant, the study landscape, the media library and the self-study areas are places where people will come together.

Teaching zones

The teaching zones will have a deliberately calmer character and will be functional in their design. To facilitate moving around the building, and to give each of the rooms an individual character, the architects will follow a differentiated approach in terms of furniture, material use, colour, lighting, planting and signing. This carefully chosen diversity means that different types of people will feel at home here.
Right from the start of the design phase, all parties have joined in the discussion on how to successfully translate the identity of the combination of Technology study programmes into the design […], and how the building will continue to meet the needs of new developments now and in the future.

Side elevation and front elevation of the Rondom building on the TU/e campus

Who will be relocating to the Rondom building on the TU/e campus, in the summer of 2019?

The Dutch language bachelor study programmes:

  • Applied Science
  • Automotive
  • Automotive Management
  • Commercial Management SME
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Teacher Consumer Technology
  • Teacher Technical Professional Education
  • Mechatronics
  • Technical Commercial Studies
  • Technical Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

The English stream bachelor study programmes:

  • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering & Management
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics

  • Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Associate Professorship Business Entrepreneurship
  • Fontys Education Centre

More than just a new building

Together with the three schools and the accommodation and facility services department, we are working on an overall programme for the Rondom building. This programme encompasses more than simply a new location. On the part of the schools, we will be focusing on how the users of the building will perceive the environment, in the future. We will be tackling themes that are relevant to all three schools, combining initiatives that offer good prospects of success and making the translation into the essential characteristics for the future learning and research environment. In other words, the programme goes beyond the limits of the individual schools. These words were spoken by programme manager Miranka van Loo, the linking pin between the three schools.

An open community with individually recognisable schools and study programmes, where technology and innovation are visible and tangible. That is what we are looking to achieve,” continued Miranka. “The themes we are currently tackling will all contribute. Think for example of the combined use of space and facilities such as labs and machinery. That will of course have consequences for planning and timetabling. We may have to change things around in the Rondom. A working group is currently looking into these questions. Another theme is hospitality. For example how do we intend to receive our students and visitors? How will they enter the building? What will their experience be? Simply decorating the individual rooms is not enough. We also want to make the Rondom a smart building. What requirements will have to be satisfied?” Another working group has been established to discuss these issues. Coming up with the answers is not a job for Miranka, on her own. Her task is to make the connections and encourage cooperation. It all starts with identifying the ambitions of the individual schools and working to achieve them, together.

In discussion with students

Miranka continued, “We recently asked students for their opinion about the existing self-study areas. And what did we discover? Around 50% of them feel comfortable there and 50% do not. Those that do not feel at home mainly put this fact down to the noisy atmosphere, not suitable for study. That is because some of the existing study areas are in fact used as meeting places. It turns out that these two functions cannot be combined. It is possible to respond to this situation by making specific choices for the Rondom building. Another point that emerged is that students attach considerable value to the proximity of their teaching staff, although not necessarily in terms of actual physical proximity. An online connection is also fine. We will pass on conclusions like these to the project group and the interior architects. In other words, our findings will be used by various different parties.”

Specific target groups

There is space for all target groups within the programme, for example also for people with an autistic spectrum disorder. What do we need to take into account for them, in designing the building? Miranka again, “We recently completed a walkthrough in R1 with around 20 colleagues to draw people’s attention to the stimuli that these individuals may perceive. The interior architect was also in attendance. For the revelations it gave us, this was a useful activity.”


“Although I myself am not involved in teaching, the programme has to be run together with my teaching colleagues,” concluded Miranka. “My discussions involve all the key players, and together we identify the expertise on hand. A huge number of people are involved. My work for example brings on board a process manager and a project group. Our efforts are constantly aimed at maintaining connections. So please let me know if you see any opportunities. Try to think beyond the limits of your own study programme, and constantly ask yourself whether a particular work approach could also be attractive to others. We will then look for possibilities of achieving broader support within the three schools in the Rondom, and consequently what this means for the layout of the new building.”

A review of the joint interior working sessions

To arrive at a definitive design plan for the Rondom, four plenary design sessions were held. Representatives from the Fontys Schools of Business Management, Education and Technology, Applied Sciences, Engineering and Automotive all took part. The meeting on 26 October last focused on atmosphere and experience. Staff and students selected interior photographs that they felt best matched the identity of their school.
Merel de Greef, a Technical Physics student said, “I enjoyed the session; above all identifying images to match the different rooms. It was also fun to work alongside the staff. Of course they too will be occupying the space in the future. It needs to be a pleasant space for us all.”
Ton Heermans, an Engineering student added, “It is an enjoyable challenge as a student to be allowed to contribute to ideas on the future appearance of our new school building. It is important that students also have a say, otherwise the building will be designed entirely according to the vision of the teaching staff, while the focus should be on the students. In this way, we can together ensure that the new location takes on a fresh new look.”

Campus development Rachelsmolen Eindhoven

Fontys aims to offer students, staff and visitors an inspiring and pleasant learning and working environment; an environment in which you feel at home, where you are happy to spend time and where you meet others. Over the next few years, even more than is already the case, we intend to make the Rachelsmolen campus in Eindhoven just such a place.

Hans Nederlof, member of the Executive Board of Fontys

“By 2024 we will have fundamentally modernised our campus in Eindhoven, and as such will have achieved far-reaching integration with the professional field; in that way we will be able to offer our students a far more modern, liveable teaching environment. That is our overall aim.”

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Over the next few years, Fontys will be hard at work creating the future Rachelsmolen campus. Work will start with the construction of an aboveground multi-storey carpark in the summer of 2018. This new facility is necessary because part of the existing parking space will soon house a new building, on the campus. In 2020, the new home of the ICT school is due to arise on this location. In the meantime, in 2019, the remaining Technology study programmes will be relocating from Rachelsmolen to the TU/e campus.

From 2020 onwards, this means that a large proportion of the Rachelsmolen campus will be available for developing new plans. Within those plans, the Fontys schools and facility support services currently located elsewhere in Eindhoven will be offered space at the Rachelsmolen campus, with the exception of the School of Sport Studies; and of course the technical study programmes that will remain on the TU/e campus. The actual redesign of the campus will not start before 2020. However a start has already been made on preparing the plans, starting with the campus vision.

The redesign of a campus is a long-term process. Before actual construction work is started, many other steps have to be taken. The first step is to draw up a vision on the basis of the ambitions we have identified for the campus. Education is in a constant state of flux, in line with the developments taking place in society and the world of work. This in turn calls for a complete new vision on our environment. In that vision, the focus will be on the developments in education, research and the professional world.

Marc Muthumaricar, manager Operations School of HRM&Psychology

“Students and staff must be given the opportunity to do what they are good at. The development and utilisation of talents calls for a challenging and inspiring teaching environment. We all need to discover exactly what that means.”

Astrid Venes, director School for Child Studies and Education:

“It is the task of (primary) education to help children identify their place in society. This means that the teachers we train must occupy a position at the heart of that society, must establish links with others, and be able to work in multidisciplinary teams. This is only possible in a bustling, innovative and dynamic environment offering a wide range of knowledge-based themes. Together with a wide and diverse group of students, Fontys colleagues and other potential future campus residents, we can make the Rachelsmolen campus just such an environment. The campus can also contribute to a fantastic period of study, as well as being a place you continue to return to, even after graduation.”

Vincent Deuning, process manager Accommodation and Facilities Services department:

“Because we aim to redevelop much of the Rachelsmolen campus, we now have the opportunity to create an environment that perfectly ties in with the future of education. Increasingly education is a question of establishing connections in an often multidisciplinary environment, rich in context. How fabulous would it be if we were to create an even more bustling campus where everyone is inspired by the people they meet and where developments in education, research and the field of work are even more visible? To make that possible, we need to look forward and allow our shared ambitions to guide us in developing the campus. In other words, we must not only consider the needs of the various study programmes but must also focus attention on the image we wish to present and the results we aim to achieve, together.”

Daan Greven, director School of Financial Management:

“We can maximise our contribution to the development of students if we are able to teach them in an environment that is similar to that in which they will find employment, in the future. That environment is characterised by the blurring of boundaries between individual jobs and roles, and the intermingling of technology and economics, communication and ICT. Our aim is to create an open campus that invites people to work together in facing up to the challenges of tomorrow.”