Facts & Figures

  • Educational institution
  • 1100 m2
  • 4000 students yearly
  • Status: completed in 2016

STE Languages

A place where different cultures meet

A design that will bring people together. The main language institute of the Southern Netherlands wants to project an image of result-based professionalism, while remaining open, accessible and transparent. A miniature society. Students should feel welcome and at ease when they come here, but more importantly, they should feel proud of their origins as well.

For the new STE Languages building we have come up with a design that blurs the boundaries and that allows room for people’s individual stories. A place where language is the connecting element.

Photo: Jeroen van der Wielen

A smart floor design

The layout of the building is geared towards connecting people. Transparent walls and a floor design that continues into 16 classrooms, across 1100 m2 of floor. Its colour palette represents a range of skin tones and the floor is laid in a variety of patterns from all over the world. An interior that will unite different cultures and give new meaning to the notion of hospitality.

"language-academy as a small society" - Mathilde Lageman

Formal settings alongside informal interventions

STE Languages believes that languages are best learnt in day-to-day life. It wanted to create an environment where conversations among fellow course participants would take place naturally. The building as a dictionary. It now features coat hooks with the weather as a conversation topic in different languages and in the bathrooms, items are named in a range of languages as well.  

Design as a means to prompt a dialogue. At the start of their course, all students plant a small flag to mark their place of birth. Then they plant another one to indicate the language they have come to study. Another way to kick-start a conversation.

A relaxed atmosphere for better learning

When people feel at home inside their learning environment their academic achievements will improve. The Delft blue wall panels mirror the patterns on the floor that refer to different countries. The design encourages social interaction and the panels act as invitations to a conversation.


Client: STE Languages Eindhoven | 2016 | Project number: 16.005-STE | Photography: Jeroen van der Wielen