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VU Amsterdam research building

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VU Amsterdam research building 

On the Zuidas, the VU manifests itself with a state-of-the-art research and education building, focusing on medical research. Making the laboratories low-vibration was a major challenge considering its location close to the railway and motorway. The building is expected to be ready for use by 500 researchers, employees and students in 2024.

  • client(s)
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • location
  • amsterdam
  • user(s)
  • Vrije universiteit amsterdam
  • discipline(s)
  • cepezed
    cepezed interieur

fast-growing Zuidas  

The research building stands on a plot on de Boelelaan previously used by the Schoolwork Gardens, but now part of the VU Zuidas campus. The development of the research building is an important step in the renovation of the science facilities. The building consists of a 12-storey high-rise section (57 metres) and a 6-storey low-rise section (30 metres). The double-height plinth accommodates the public and communal functions, such as meeting rooms and the restaurant.

Lucas van der Wee

ingenious foundation  

To make the laboratories as low-vibration as possible, the high-rise is structurally separated from the low-rise. Between them is a skylight, where the concrete construction is left visible. The low-rise building with the laboratories rests on 470 grout injection piles of 25 metres in length, with a foundation one metre thick on top. In the basement, this foundation is further reinforced with four blocks of solid concrete on thick slabs of rubber. The ground floor is half a metre thick. Holes were carefully cut out for the four blocks so that they do not touch the floor, but visually form a surface.

Lucas van der Wee

More than research  

In addition to the special research areas - labs, biosafety laboratories, electron microscopy rooms and laser facilities - the building will have spaces for self-study and group teaching as well as work and office areas. The building will also have a catering facility and meeting areas. The skylight between the high-rise and low-rise buildings will soon function as a central entrance and meeting and traffic zone. A grand staircase forms a striking object in the space. On the Boelelaan, a wide, vertical strip up to the upper floors gives a view of what is happening inside. To the right of this glass lane, over two floors, are double-height 'living rooms'.

cepezed

ingenuity and precision  

Behind the vertical lines of the facade is ingenuity and precision. Glass panels are held in place by cover strips with a protruding fin, behind which alternating expanded metal and aluminium is clamped. At the plinth, this strip merges into natural stone. The expanded metal gives relief to the fa├žade and functions as a ventilation grid. The play 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.

Lucas van der Wee

A future-proof design  

Due to the requirement for low-vibration laboratories, it was necessary to use relatively large amounts of concrete. The raw concrete did produce a beautiful, tactile wall at the borde staircase in the central hall. The environmental impact of the concrete was offset by a host of sustainable solutions in other areas. As a result, the design was nevertheless BREEAM-Excellent certified: the building is energy-efficient and lifespan-proof.

cepezed

Dutch climate facade  

By positioning spaces cleverly, daylight is maximised and it is possible to bring in fresh air through 'hatches' in the facade on all floors. Another ingenious element is the 'Dutch climate facade': 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 refrigeration load.

Lucas van der Wee

partners

  • client: vrije universiteit amsterdam
  • main contractor: jp van eesteren
  • interior design: cepezedinterieur
  • stability: pieters bouwtechniek
  • building services: dwa
  • building physcis & sustainability: dgmr
  • cost management: at osborne
  • lab advisor: deerns