Office building converted into a modern college
A number of architectural features from the 1950's such as the entrance with its oriel, the elegant spiral stairs and the canteen at the top have been preserved.
As soon as they saw the 1950’s office block, architects at De Jong Gortemaker in the Netherlands realised the great opportunities for preserving the character of large parts of the building in conjunction with conversion to a college. The only additions to the building were the lecture theatres. The property, which belongs to University College Utrecht, the Netherlands, has a total of 2,500 staff and 28,000 students.
Spacious teaching premises
The initial aim was to create a teaching building with flexible spaces and a variation of classrooms and study areas. Open and closed rooms were created for individual study and group work, for concentration and for discussions. When the dividing walls were taken down, the previous transparent environment was revealed with its wonderful light and was able to be compared with photographs of the building in its original condition. Adapting the building to its new educational function led to the traditional central corridor being placed against the outer wall to make room for spacious teaching premises.
The college has adapted its operations to modern IT and the new style of study focusing on individuality, project-based self-study and group work. The new trend requires quiet rooms with plenty of space. The infrastructure of the college building is being changed and long corridors with classrooms are being converted into a teaching landscape for flexible forms of study.
A spacious multimedia resource centre was created in the centre of the building.
Calm and quiet environment
The goal from the start was to exploit the height of the room using ceiling islands and it was decided to maintain the existing ventilation system. However, it became clear that from an aesthetic point of view it was better to conceal the installations with a complete suspended ceiling.
As far as possible sound damping surface layers were chosen for the flooring, which creates a calm and quiet environment in combination with the acoustic ceiling.
The corridors are not only transport routes. They also offer great opportunities for individual study in good light, with noise reduced by building dividing walls and installing a full acoustic ceiling.