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VU research building: subtle new appearance on the Boelelaan

Lucas van der Wee

Construction of the VU research building on the Zuidas is progressing steadily. With the building now wind and waterproof, it fits naturally into its surroundings. The vertical lines of the facade conceal more than you would think at first glance.

two volumes
The VU's new research building is designed for (laboratory) research and education. To make part of the labs completely vibration-free, the building is divided into two volumes. The vibration-free labs are located in the low-rise building at the rear. The transition between the high-rise and low-rise sections acts as dilatation, preventing vibrations from being transmitted. In the side facade, this transition is marked by a slightly recessed, vertical glass strip.

activity in the plinth
The double-height plinth of the research building houses - as required by the urban development plan - the more public and communal functions, such as meeting rooms and the restaurant. On the Boelelaan, a wide, vertical strip from the ground floor to the upper floors also provides a view of what is happening inside. To the right of that glass lane are double-height 'living rooms' (over two floors); the stairwell, among others, is on the left.

ingenuity and precision
Behind the seemingly simple, vertical lines of the facade is ingenuity and precision. Glass panels are held in place by cover strips with a protruding fin, with alternating expanded metal and aluminium clamped behind them. At the plinth, this strip merges into natural stone. The expanded metal gives the facade relief and functions as a ventilation grid. The interaction with the depth of the neg also creates subtle relief, sometimes enhanced by its shadow. The aluminium colour is different at any time of day, depending on the amount of sunlight.

dutch climate facade
Another clever feature is the Dutch Climate Facade. This means that reflective blinds are placed on the inside of the glass and air is extracted between the blinds and the glass. This removes much of the heat already at the facade, reducing the building's cooling load.

important role
The new building joins the existing education buildings. The VU is a key player in science and will enrich the Zuidas knowledge district with the research building from 2024.

Want to know more? View the project page Onderzoeksgebouw Vrije Universiteit.

Lucas van der Wee
Lucas van der Wee
Lucas van der Wee
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