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HU UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES, UTRECHT


27


greys and timber, except for the notable exception of the bright gold/yellow casing to the escalators. “We didn’t want to make a lot of visual


noise,” explains Pim. “If you’ve got 5,800 people within a building, then there is already a whole lot of things happening at once.” He tells ADF that the bright yellow colour choice was however intended to “express the flow of people into the building,” and as such needed to be “sharp and crisp,” being the only element of the project’s interior design that intentionally draws attention to itself.


Beyond the escalators are food and drinks outlets, including a student-run cafe. There are a number of soft seats and study places in this area, intended to encourage serendipitous encounters between fellow students, as well as their teachers. There are also toilets and showers on the ground floor, alongside technical facilities and the two main lecture halls.


Going up Turning back to the atrium, and up towards the higher floors, the softly lighted vertical space of the atrium is interspersed with a web of stairways, escalators and indoor


ADF APRIL 2019


bridges crossing overhead. These routes, criss-crossing up and down, are made up of a contrast between the yellow escalators and the bright white staircases, and from below they are not unlike the ‘floating stairs’ of JK Rowling’s Hogwarts. Instead of magical stone however, these staircases and bridges have transparent finishes on their balustrades and soffits, made of perforated aluminium sheets, with integrated lights and acoustic absorption. According to the architect, it was a significant challenge to facilitate a high level of traffic into such a dense building, and the escalators were a key logistical element of the egress solution. They avoid bottlenecks by carrying people up two floors at a time, from ground to second, second to fourth, and fourth to sixth. “The escalators, especially in the morning rush hour, allow a lot of students to get into the building at once,” details Ijsendoorn. “The building is made for 5,800 people being present simultaneously. From these 5,800, lets say 5,000 will enter the building between the 7:45 to 8:45 rush hour; that’s a whole lot of students.”


It was also necessary to supplement the escalators with the wide set floating


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BRONZE & GOLD


The building has a bronze/gold facade of anodised aluminium, with each colour ‘dissolving’ into the next


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