The Dutch branch of Thales was founded in 1922 in Hengelo as NV Hazemeyers' factory of signal devices. In 1956 Philips bought most of the shares and the name changed to 'Hollandse Signaal Apparaten' (Dutch Signal Devices). In 1990, Thomson-CSF acquired the company from Philips and in 2000 the name Thomson-CSF was changed to Thales. Thales Nederland is active in the field of aerospace, defence and information technology. The head office in Hengelo has approximately 1,000 employees. The emphasis has shifted from production to innovation and development. Until recently, the Thales site was an impregnable fortress with strict security. Now the company is convinced that innovation comes about through cooperation, encounters, a free way of working, relaxation and contact with the outside world.
Fortress becomes campus
A first step is the demolition of the large, now unused production halls on the Twente canal and the construction of a new head office and facilities centre. Architect Hans van den Dobbelsteen of LKSVDD architects: "The fact that we were selected is partly due to our idea for a green park-like campus. Together with MTD landscape architects and Reitsema & partners architects, LKSVDD presented a campus concept that is strongly committed to the development of the High Tech Systems Park as a whole, a master plan for buildings and landscape. Apparently, this fits in perfectly with the wishes of Thales. They received the assignment and construction of the new head office and the 'Shared Facility Center' and the layout of the surrounding areas started in 2014. Thales wants to create a High Tech Systems Park here that is attractive to (starting) technology-based companies.
The next step is the transformation of office building N into a business centre. As on other (former) Philips sites, the buildings are marked with letters. Building N dates from 1962 and is a very functional building with a robust concrete construction. Architect Van den Dobbelsteen is proud that this building has been preserved: "You can compare the concrete shell with a racking system. You can fill it in with anything." The building has two floors, each 4 meters high, and a basement, partly provided with daylight by a moat. It is 120 metres long and 21 metres deep and has bays of 7 metres.