For a new Faculty of Science, located at Amsterdam Sciencepark, the University of Amsterdam brought together three formerly separate departments to boost collaboration between them. Working with two other firms, we embodied this interaction in the form of one building with three distinct, yet overlapping, architectural styles.
University of Amsterdam
The complex is divided into three sections. Our wing is an elongated structure on the north-east side of the central building (designed by Rudy Uytenhaak Architects), beneath which it partially slides. Our building comprises three functions. Support services occupy the ground floor. The most important public functions, such as the library and study centre, are located on the first floor, which is reached by a wide staircase from the main hall. Above, three further floors are devoted to flexible laboratory space, which could be converted to office space if required.
For the public areas, we created a playful landscape. Colour plays a prominent role. Bright yellow elements contrast with purple-black polyester panels, a rich herringbone parquet floor and bright red seating elements. Cantilevered terraces and the bright yellow staircase add spatial interest. Students can choose from a variety of options, from the central ‘square’ with its sociable lounge, to the peaceful seclusion of the glass study cells. Daylight floods the void between the different elements.
The three different buildings have completely different characters, yet the interplay between them is particularly effective. Between our building and the others is a high, open and light space with playful staggered staircases, balconies and galleries. There are all kinds of workspaces, both open and contained in niches, displaying lots of interesting activity. Mixing divergent architectural styles, just like combining different scientific disciplines, can produce groundbreaking creative results.