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28 HU UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES, UTRECHT


staircases, which allow for travel between each floor – especially important for those floors that the escalators do not connect with.


There are four main cores in the building, and each of these cores has two independent staircases. “This is driven by the amount of people that need to be able to evacuate the building,” says Pim. “Within one minute you need to be within a safe place, and then within 15 minutes you need to be outside the building.”


Separate cores Each of the building’s eight institutes has its own ‘heart’. Going up the stairs, the institutes have been spread fairly evenly across the floors, with the more related subjects located close to one another to encourage collaboration. Every institute has its own ‘plaza’ with two separate spaces, one which is predominantly for students, with a ‘coffee corner,’ copier, printer, information boards and screens, and a space directly adjacent for the staff which is slightly more secluded. These staff areas are not completely blocked to students, but there is an implied threshold, to give teachers some separation.


Generally the distribution is around one plaza per floor, with each floor hosting the necessary facilities for each available topic to study. Though many of the classrooms are ‘generic,’ and as such can be used by any institute, the university’s idea is to schedule lectures so that each subject will be confined to a floor for most of their time spent there in the day.


The spatial arrangement for each floor follows the pattern of the traditional educational spaces being located along the external facade, containing all the regular classrooms, lecture halls and studios, with corridors adjacent that run around the main atrium, hosting a number of study places in the remaining footprint. These study areas include timber-clad ‘concentration workspaces’ that allow for one or two people to work in a private environment, without any acoustic or visual disturbance.


The interior of the cores have been designed to separate these various educational functions visually, and allow for clear movement throughout the building, as Pim explains: “When we developed the material and the colour scheme, we didn’t want to have a rigid, repetitive stacking of functions. “An individual function should be


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