AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center
AFAS Experience Center

AFAS Experience Center

Glass, Steel

At the new avenue of inspiration in Leusden, the impressive new headquarters of AFAS will be realized. The complex, an impressive 62,000 square meters, will consist of several interconnected buildings for exhibitions, sports, training courses, a restaurant, a courtyard and a theatre. The theatre is an eye-catching glass dome. Octatube is contracted by Dura Vermeer Bouw Hengelo to build this striking feature.

In 2016, Octatube was initially involved in the development of the dome during the design phase in the form of a pre-engineering job. Since a construction process is complex, Octatube is frequently involved in projects early on in the design phase. Octatube was asked already in this phase for advice. For example on how a certain design idea could actually be realized (development of principle detailing) or how certain challenges (tight construction site, difficult transport or connections with other disciplines) can be solved during construction. There are many factors, preconditions and risks that influence the construction process. The idea for the AFAS dome was already there but during the pre-engineering Octatube produced various design models. The geometry was refined and, together with the architect, a direction for further development was chosen.

Preferred supplier
23 contractors applied for this project. Octatube was put forward as 'preferred supplier' for the theatre dome. Dura Vermeer Bouw Hengelo won the tender and Octatube was selected for the construction of the dome.

Koert Terhurne, director of Dura Vermeer Bouw Hengelo: "An extremely challenging and prestigious construction project for an inspiring and very committed client. The new building is a dream come true for AFAS, but also for Dura Vermeer. In this project we provide what we know and do and we offer AFAS added value in the way we work. And that's important to the company."  (Source:

The architectural design
The dome has a constant radius and is divided into several horizontal rings, which are in their place divided by a triangular pattern. A dome is an efficient designtool in terms of the use of materials and the structural rigidity creates a lot of space. The size of the dome (a diameter of 42 meters and a height of 21 meters) will be spectacular. Each node is given a light spot both inwards and outwards. This will give the dome a striking appearance in the evening as well. The internal concrete dome of the theatre room will be covered in green vegetation. The space between the concrete and glass dome serves as a foyer. The foyer will become a pleasant place within the AFAS Experience Center due to the vegetation, the restaurant and the panoramic view.

A mock-up has been developed for this project. This life-size mock-up is part of the design made during the design or production phase. A fragment of the dome is created with a transparent and non-transparent glass surface. It is a deliberate choice not to make the roof of the dome transparent, because of the high exposure to the sun. The inner surface of the glass is laminated and all panels are triangular. A mock-up is a good way to test the design decisions in practice at an early stage. The client's wish is to keep the look clean and integrate all lighting fixtures and wiring into the construction. This mock-up will also include the integrated installation facilities to test whether they are easily accessible for replacement and maintenance.

Principle detailing
During the engineering phase, the Octatube team has focused on the further elaboration of the principle detailing. Within this process, we organised a number of design workshops, with architects, end customers, main contractors and other advisors involved in the project. In order to produce coherent propositions. Various design proposals for detailed solutions were presented and a number of test models were made. The repetitive basic node with integrated central spotlights will give the dome its character as a visually significant aspect. By producing test models, mock-ups, the customer gets the opportunity during the engineering process to actually see the structure. The mock-up is often an exciting and especially fun moment that the client and the architect are looking forward to. Often, it is a first encounter with the new building. Also, it provides an accurate picture of the quality that is expected from the new building.

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