Cockpit and Acoustic Barrier, Leidsche Rijn Utrecht

The design of the Cockpit and barrier construction consists of a building integrated into an acoustic barrier. The barri

Acoustic Barrier: Projectbureau Leidsche Rijn, Cockpit: Hessing Holding
Construction Started
January 2004
Project Type
Acoustic Barrier
Leidsche Rijn Utrecht, The Netherlands
Estimated Investment
Acoustic Barrier €5m, Cockpit €5.5m
November 2005
Building Footprint
Architects and Designers
ONL [Oosterhuis_Lénárd]
Lead Contractors and Engineers
Meijers Staalbouw, Pilkington Glass, Polyned

The design of the Cockpit and barrier construction consists of a building integrated into an acoustic barrier. The barrier runs alongside the A2 highway in the centre of Holland. The aim is to separate industrial and residential districts by muffling sound, while also producing an architectural construction that people can enjoy.

The acoustic barrier and the Cockpit are designed with drivers in mind, allowing for a car to pass at a speed of 120km/h and guaranteeing a smooth appearance of the structure.

“The aim is to separate industrial and residential districts by muffling sound.”

The Cockpit houses a showroom and garage for luxury cars for Hessing Holding BV. It is positioned 15m from the side of the A2 highway. Drivers can view the cars as they pass by.

The highway side is composed of a triangular system of glass elements, while the other side is clad with an open metal mesh. The long elastic lines along the length of the barrier have no clear beginning or end.

In the glass section the shapes vary from angular to smoothly curved, convex to concave. Due to the natural lighting produced by the glass façade and the proximity of the showroom building, the cars are easily visible from the highway.


The design is a pure example of Non-Standard Architecture (NSA) realised on a large scale. The basic principle of NSA is that all compiled components are different.

Architect ONL wanted to prove this could be done with standard building materials. The sound change from the noise-muffling barrier to the cockpit is the result of a coordinated change in the network –variables are gradually changed and controlled by the underlying model.


The acoustic barrier and the Cockpit are based on the new building paradigm of mass customisation and the new design model of programming soft design machines.

“The design is a pure example of non-standard architecture realised on a large scale.”

Simple programming rules are combined to create a visually complex geometry. The script produces 3D visualisations of all components and the data is transferred from the 3D model to the operating machinery.

The cutting, bending, drilling and welding machines are operated by numbers and sequences, which are produced by scripts, routines and procedures written by ONL.

This process creates a model and full-size mock-up, and is later used directly on the building site.


ONL and steel manufacturer Meijers Staalbouw have developed a ‘point cloud’ system – involving complex nodes and simple connecting beams. This is generated through an engineering programme, with a number of scripts implemented to produce unique components.

This shows that within a regular budget large complex structures can be built and managed using simple engineering methods.

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