Cobbenhagen building

Uit Tilburg Wiki


When the oldest building on campus was festively opened on November 13th, 1962, the slow and tedious progress of its building history had been all but forgotten. It had taken over twelve years for the creation of the architect Jos Bedaux to materialize. When town center accommodations became too small and student numbers too large, it was decided to relocate to the town’s undeveloped outskirts, as did other universities in the country. And so, on the recommendation of his brother-in-law, Professor Frans van der Ven, Bedaux was commissioned to design a new building. The first pile for its construction was sunk in 1959.

Variegated experiences

Bedaux designed the building to resemble a long walk full of variegated experiences, with cloisters and patios and daylight coming in in different ways. Other characteristic ways in which Bedaux expressed modernity included the use of shellbearing limestone on the outside, Norwegian slate and marble, exposed brickwork, high and wide hallways and intimate courtyards. The building is greatly appreciated although some will grumble that it is not always easy to find your way around. The building has witnessed the arrivals and departures of countless numbers of officials, services and departments. One of its most permanent occupants is the University’s Executive Board. It has only been since 2002 that the building has been named after Cobbenhagen, the University’s founder. After 1971, it was called Building A, after the current Koopmans Building and the Goossens Building had been completed, which were called Buildings B and C until 2007 and were also designed by Bedaux, just like the Simon Building and the Sports Center.


The Cobbenhagen Building was Bedaux’s first experiment with a concrete skeleton whose load-bearing elements were left on display, in this case the small concrete columns surrounding the inner garden. This was a reference to the inner gardens of classical antiquity and medieval monasteries: colonnaded spaces used for study and reflection. In the fourth century BC, Athens, for instance, had its “peripatetic school,” founded by Aristotle, where the philosopher allegedly had a habit of walking while lecturing, protected from the bright Greek sun.


In 2012, the Cobbenhagen Building was renovated, preserving all its main features but one: the building used to have a dire lack of ladies’ toilets, which was then remedied. This deficiency had already been a campaign topic in the seventies but apparently without its intended effect. Its energy management systems have also been updated: daylight monitoring systems, water-saving toilet flushes, double glazing all around the inner garden, photosentitive detection sensors, led lighting, etcetera. The roof is now covered with sedum, which has isolating properties, improves water drainage and, by extending the habitat of animals and plants, enhances biodiversity. The Cobbenhagen Building has been a listed building since 2015.

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