On Friday 21 September 2012 the Amsterdam councillor Lodewijk Asscher officially opened Amsterdam University College. The new and striking 6,000 m² educational building was designed by Mecanoo architecten in Delft. The prestigious Amsterdam University College accommodates the joint liberal arts and sciences programme of the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam. The educational institute forms the entrance to Science Park, the international knowledge centre in the Watergraafsmeer neighbourhood close to Amsterdam’s historic seventeenth-century city centre.
Amsterdam University College combines an intensive programme of studies with the cultural and social life of a campus. Francine Houben explains: “Amsterdam University College was designed as an inspiring home for the community of international students and their professors. It’s a friendly but robust home with a spacious loft on top.”
By positioning the tilting roofs diagonally, in a north-south direction, the sense of being in a loft is strengthened. Large voids form the heart of the building and create a visual relationship between the different floors. A staircase winds through the voids, symbolising a sense of community for its users. Distinguished spaces such as the restaurant, the common room and the study hall have two-storey facades with a beautiful view to the Science Park.
The striking façade is made of corten steel and furnishes the building with a warm yet formal presence which resonates with the architecture of the Science Park. Amsterdam University College is a sustainable building applying, amongst other things, thermal energy storage and concrete core activation. The moss sedum roof covering not only provides insulation but also serves as water storage.