identifiable,” he adds. “The concentration workspaces for example are clad in timber finishes, both on the outside and inside. Then facing the main atrium, there are two different types of balustrade, and the use of the space behind each will differ.” He continues: “Where there is a fully closed balustrade, there will be a working desk behind it, and where there is a semi-transparent balustrade, there will be soft seats behind it.”

Another example of what Ijsendoorn

calls “identification through detailing” is the flooring. The architects specified an uncovered, thin cement-based screed, and as such the building’s flooring is almost entirely grey. In specific areas however, there are colour coatings around the edges that indicate that a particular area belongs to a certain zone.

While also performing a visual function, this flooring was reportedly chosen due to budgeting issues. “When we won the competition, we knew that there was some tension between the ambition of the client and the available budget,” explains the architect. “We had to focus specifically on where we were going to put money on high end quality, and see what elements could be what we sometimes call ‘industrial chic,’ where we didn’t need to spend excessive money,” he says, the flooring being one such element.

Moving past these educational areas and onto the final remaining space on the top floor, roof gardens have been created, accessible to both the students and the staff. On the east side, the building is eight floors high, and then it steps down in order to connect with the neighbouring buildings. It is here that the roof gardens have been placed, providing a significant amount of recreational space for the university’s users.

Enthusiastic reception

Through this process of consultation and meticulous design, schmidt/hammer/lassen has effectively tackled a complex spatial


design challenge, and created a porous educational facility that directly informs users of its nature through its materiality. Pim believes this is largely due to the fact that the team worked closely with the university’s building supervisor – the university owning all land within the campus perimeter. “[The client] has a semi-private supervisor who needs to pre-approve all building proposals. ‘We worked extensively with him,” says the project architect, “and he is very happy with the end result, and thinks it fits really well into the overall campus.” The completed building is now fully operational, and sees thousands of students and faculty alike enjoy the new spaces every day, and, according to Ijsendoorn, they have been very happy in doing so.

“People have been very, very enthusiastic about the building,” says Ijsendoorn, “especially its users.” He concludes: “They say that having a fit for purpose building, even with its large scale and dense plan, really makes them happy.” 


General contractor: Strukton Worksphere and Besix Precast floorslabs: VBI Revolving doors: Assa Abloy Escalators/lifts: Otis Curtain walls: Alkondor Windows: Alkondor Cladding panels: VPT Versteeg System walls: Intermontage Insulated wall panels: MBS (Machiels Building Solutions) Mobile separation walls: Nusing GmbH

Solar blinds: Verosol Skylight: Braat Balustrades: MCB (Moors Constructie en Machinebouw) Sprinkler/fire fighting: Chubb Steel structure: Bentstaal Fire rated walls and doors: MHB


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