Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Best Architectural Design for Museum

About the project
The Naturalis Biodiversity Center is an ensemble of existing buildings and new-build. The key of this sustainable project was the idea to reuse the original museum building for the required offices and depots, combined with the realization of a new and future proof museum building with multifunctional exhibition halls large enough to expose the T-rex.
The central atrium where scientists, staff, students and families meet, connects the various parts of the institute. Its construction consists of a 3D concrete structure, referring to shapes one often finds in nature. The filtered light that enters through the glass crown reinforces the monumentality of the space.
The main staircase leading up to the exhibitions resembles a mountain path and the exterior of the exhibition halls mimicks a geological structure. Its horizontal travertine layers are interrupted by friezes of concrete, designed by famous fashion designer Iris van Herpen.

Darwinweg 2, Leiden, the Netherlands

Project implementation year

Project website

Applicant and authors of the project
Neutelings Riedijk Architects is a leading international architectural practice based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. «We offer a strong commitment to design excellence: realizing high quality architecture through the development of powerful and innovative concepts into clear built form.» Neutelings Riedijk Architects is specialized in the design of public and cultural buildings.

Other participants
Client: Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Architectural engineering: ABT BV Ingenieursbureau
Structural engineering: Aronsohn Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Installation design: Huisman en van Muijen
Building physics: DGMR Raadgevende Ingenieurs
Contractor: JP van Eesteren
Designers of artworks: Iris van Herpen, Studio Tord Boontje
Photography: Scagliola Brakkee