Polak Building/Erasmus University
The changing educational landscape calls for a learning environment that is continually linked to society and the world around it. That was also our brief from Erasmus University Rotterdam. They approached us to design both the interior and exterior of the new university building. This was the perfect opportunity for us to design a fully-integrated and sustainable building, in which the pleasant study environment indoors is linked to campus life outside. A learning environment where students and staff can inspire each other.
Students and visitors are free to walk from the adjacent plaza straight into the building. This takes them directly into an open inner area: the atrium. In this lively part of the building, there are opportunities to visit the hairdresser, go shopping or share experiences and ideas with each other in one of the cafés. A large platform staircase then leads you to the heart of the atrium on the first floor, where the teaching building begins.
The interior has been designed completely to meet the needs of the various users. In order to enable the large groups of students to move freely between the entrance and their classes, the lecture rooms are located right on the first floor. Students working independently or in smaller groups can find a calm working environment on the floors above. These are reached via the two staircases that lead in a spiral shape to the higher floors.
The outfitting is playful and unconventional. The strip of wood separating the meeting area near the atrium from the walking routes is truly multifunctional. Along its length, this structure transitions from being part of the floor, to convenient seating, and even into functional work desks. Thanks to all of the wood and the bright colours you encounter everywhere, the interior has a pure and warm look and feel. Of course, only natural and sustainable materials have been used here too.
Information provided in part by: Paul de Ruiter Architects