Paul de Ruiter
18 Hogeschool Rotterdam

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences’ new faculty building: where students are prepared for tomorrow's world

October 1, 2017 Official opening of sustainable faculty building on Kralingse Zoom campus

Today saw the official opening of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences’ new faculty building at its Kralingse Zoom campus, an event that, fittingly, coincided with the start of the academic year. The building was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects, and it consolidates all of the university’s economics departments in one place, a change from their previous location across several sites. Consequently, the event also marked the opening of the university’s new business school.

The sustainable, 13,000 m2 building provides room for 11,000 students and 850 staff members by linking the previously existing buildings together. The building is designed to support the university’s new educational approach, which is defined by small-group learning, interactive activity and an emphasis on the connection of theoretical study to real-world practice. It also provides a light, airy and comfortable environment for students, faculty staff and university personnel.

A building that facilitates learning

The six-storey building is flexible in use and future-proof, thereby allowing functional adaptability regarding the university’s future educational needs. Internal spaces can be resized as required, thanks to our modular layout of facilities and to the structure of the façade, both of which allow walls to be moved. The building also facilitates interaction between students and faculty members from the various disciplines within the department. Platforms jut into the atrium on each floor, providing airy plazas furnished with lounge chairs and large study tables with desk chairs. A large wooden staircase zigzags its way from the top of the atrium to the bottom, linking the platforms to eye-catching effect. The main entrance leads into an airy, glass-roofed space that links the buildings that constitute the business school.

The building offers an excellent environment for focused study. Besides the lecture rooms and plazas, it also provides projects rooms in which students who need to work in small groups can shut themselves away. A business square on the ground floor accommodates apprenticeships, which involve students from the different economics programmes assembling for lectures and working on their own companies. It is also where the collaborative partnership between the university, the business community and other relevant institutions takes place, the execution of which involves students devising solutions to the economic challenges facing the region. Key pillars of the programme include entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and global thinking.

International certificate of sustainability

The building was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects. Besides its sleek design – manifested most visibly from without by its facade of floor-to-ceiling glass walls – the building is also sustainable, an achievement for which it was awarded a BREEAM Excellent certificate, an acknowledgement by the leading international assessment body for environmental performance. The certification ties in neatly with the economics faculty’s vision, in which corporate social responsibility plays a significant role.

The glass facade and atrium roof allow daylight to penetrate deep into the building, yielding a profusion of light that imbues the interior with a sense of lightness, airiness and transparency. The facade is also designed to let in fresh air, for natural ventilation. Our intentional reliance on natural light and fresh air minimises the building’s energy needs and begets an indoor climate conducive to the well-being of all who visit or use the building.

The opening of the new business school

The opening of the new building also marks the opening of the new Rotterdam Business School. The building consolidates all of the university’s economics departments in one place, a marked change from their previous location across several sites.

Commenting on the new building, Board Chair Ron Bormans said:

“The consolidation of our economics programmes is in keeping with world developments and within the discipline as a whole, which require economists to be equipped to respond to sudden changes of all sorts and collaborate across disciplines. With this consolidation, the university also declares its occupation of the position that business schools across the globe have traditionally been known for. It is important that the new building and this consolidation give students a clear idea of what we offer, and convey the understanding that, as students of this faculty, they will enjoy the benefits of learning in a stunningly beautiful, sustainable building, within a programme that offers opportunities for personal, social and professional development.”

Vimeo / NieuwbouwKZ-Pers edit

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