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A greener KOG

13 June 2023

A proposal has been put forward to make the rear façade of the Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw (KOG) greener by covering that part of the building with plants. Not only will this be a visual improvement compared to the current timber structure, it will also be a sustainable eye-catcher. Plants absorb heat and so the back of the building will be cooler in the summer. Other environmental benefits are that plants promote biodiversity as they attract insects, birds and other creatures, and they also filter fine particles from the air.

‘Green light’ for green
Together with Leiden University’s Real Estate department, for some time now Alexander van Drooge, our faculty’s Facility Manager, has been considering the removal of the ‘fence’ structure at the back of the KOG (Zonneveldstraat) and replacing it with something else. The faculty has now given the green light to apply for a planning permit to have the timber structure removed and instead plants added to the rear façade of the KOG.

Input from local residents and students
‘For years, local residents have complained that the back of the KOG is an eyesore. At a meeting with residents, a plan was presented to return this side of the building to its former appearance and the suggestion was made to look into ways to make it greener. At that time I was also supervising a group of students doing a minor at the Institute of Environmental Sciences [CMS]. They were considering how to make Leiden greener. Taking that input, I sat down with Real Estate and Gerard Smit, an architect, and the plan before us is the result. Another important consideration is that the current structure is showing signs of timber rot and that could cause safety issues’, explains Van Drooge.

The preliminary drawing and other information can be viewed outside room B4.35 in the B4 corridor.

Recycling timber
Timber from the frame that is suitable for recycling will be used to build the new bicycle storage facility for the Gorlaeus lecture hall location at the BioSciencePark. Although it will only be possible to check the timber once the structure has been dismantled, it is expected that 70% of the timber can be recycled.

What next …
First, an application for a planning permit will be submitted to Leiden Municipality. Preparing and submitting the application will take a few weeks and then residents have another six weeks to file an objection. If no objections are made, we can proceed to remove the timber structure and start the reconstruction. Since we will be using plants, the reconstruction part of the project will have to take place in early spring. This means that it will take just under a year to realise the plan.

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