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The Faculty of Science at Amsterdam Science Park is outgrowing its current premises and social challenges in the field of Informatics/Artificial Intelligence (AI) are necessitating collaborative efforts with the business community and partners from different sections of society. The answer to these challenges is ‘ASP 942’, a smart, sustainable, healthy and flexible design. Following the UvA’s European tendering procedure, Benthem Crouwel Architects was selected as successful bidder and has been tasked with designing this building – which will span almost 14,000 m2 – in conjunction with the other selected consultancy disciplines as well as future users.

By appointing four professors and constructing ASP 942, the UvA will be making investments over the next few years in order to contribute to tackling the major challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents to society. President of the Executive Board Geert ten Dam: ‘This new building presents unique possibilities in terms of cooperating with partners in order to tackle the technological and social challenges posed by Artificial Intelligence’.

Smart and healthy

The winning design from Benthem Crouwel Architects stood out in particular because of the way in which the building will be able to capitalise on its usage; less use will mean less heating, whereas more intensive use will result in a notification being sent to Building Management telling them that the toilets will need to be cleaned more often, for example. Neatly arranged spaces will ensure ample daylight and views and facilitate human contact, and a comfortable indoor climate with plenty of plants will lend the building a pleasant, healthy indoor climate.

Impression of the new building (copyright Benthem Crouwel Architects)

Sustainable and flexible

The UvA has instructed the design team to create a sustainable, energy-neutral building by striving towards minimal use of raw materials and preventing waste flows. The savings in terms of energy will partly be achieved by means of optimum positioning of the building in relation to the sun, for example, and an open/shut ratio of the façade that is fine-tuned to the amount of daylight coming in. Moreover, the flexible layout of the building makes it possible to seal off specific sections, e.g. in the case of differing opening times for education, research and co-creation or in the event of changed usage in the future. Dean Peter van Tienderen: ‘I’m happy with the sustainable, flexible design. It will enable us to continuously capitalise on new developments and to collaborate with new parties, such as SMEs. What’s more, we will be in a position to offer staff, students and partners a pleasant, healthy working environment’.

Visualisation of energy consumption in summer and winter (copyright Benthem Crouwel Architects)

Visionary design

An accessible, transparent building in which staff, students and businesspeople will feel at home; a lively, inspiring building that fosters cross-fertilisation between education, research and up-and-coming talent in the field of informatics. This vision, the action plan, the construction firm selected and the circularity in combination with the price led to a unanimous verdict by the tender assessment committee: Benthem Crouwel Architects was selected to produce an integrated design for ASP 492 in conjunction with construction consultancy firm Strackee, building physics advisor DGMR and installation advisor Deerns.

Planning

Once the project is completed in the second half of 2021, two institutes – the Informatics Institute (IvI) and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) – and the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI) will be the first parties to occupy the building.