From the outside, the building is unrecognisable. Following the restoration and cleaning of the façade, the building looks as good as new, with a beautiful and fresh exterior. All the cutting, grinding and repointing work on the façade has been completed and the original colours of the different bricks are visible again. The scaffolding on Nieuwe Doelenstraat has been removed and the building once again has a beautiful façade. The window frames have also been restored to their original green colour, which means the entire façade has been returned to its original state. On the corner of Binnengasthuisstraat and Nieuwe Doelenstraat, construction has started on a new wing, which will soon be surrounded by an iconic façade screen.
The steel atrium roof is an impressive feat of construction and aesthetics. The former courtyard of the Binnengasthuis was completely filled with scaffolding to build the steel tree structure that supports the atrium roof. The roof was mounted from the inside out: from the steel tree structure to the Zusterhuis building and the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek building. The contractor started with a steel oval-shaped ring in the centre and is now building outwards over steel beams to the next ring, towards the existing roofs. The steel structure of the atrium roof was transported by water one element at a time and then installed until the entire atrium was covered. The glass panes will all have been fitted in the steel roof by late 2023.
Transforming the 22 hospital wards of the Tweede Chirurgische Kliniek into study rooms was another feat of fine craftsmanship. With bookcases reaching all the way to the high ceiling, the study rooms have been given a modern layout within the monumental wings of the Kliniek. The top shelves of the bookcases can be reached via stairs in the hallway and a mezzanine floor in the room. One of the study rooms was completely finished this summer, mezzanine floor and all. This room will serve as an example for the construction of the other 21 study rooms.
The UvA is constructing a new University Library that is as sustainable as possible by using new technologies. This summer, two new wells were realised for the thermal energy storage (TES) system. The TES system will heat and cool the building using thermal energy, which is stored in water located at a depth of up to 180 metres below the building. The system will use cold water to cool the building in summer, while simultaneously carrying off the warm water from the building for storage. In winter, a heat pump will then bring this water to the ideal temperature for heating the building. The TES wells will ultimately become part of the TES ring pipeline that will also be used to heat other UvA buildings in the University Quarter.
The new University Library will offer state-of-the-art amenities. In addition to being a place where students, lecturers and researchers can study and carry out research, it will also have multi-purpose lecture rooms. These can be used for lectures as well as for events and self-study. The building’s most beautiful room, a former lecture room with tiered seating, will double as a cinema. Another room will be used as a focus room, where guided study sessions will take place for students with ADHD and others who could use some extra motivation, such as students finishing up their thesis. The new University Library will also house the UvA Data Science Centre, as part of the Library. This way, the University Library will become an interdisciplinary place that stimulates interfaculty knowledge sharing and knowledge development. In addition to study spaces, students will have access to a brainstorming room, a debate chamber and a real studio. They can also work on projects in the old ‘telephone tower’. The atrium features a seven-metre-wide video wall for presentations. With a total floor area of 15,000 m2 and 358 different rooms, the University Library will offer everyone a place where they can find inspiration and take care of their work for the day.
As construction is unfortunately running behind schedule, we expect to open in the third quarter of 2025. The accompanying video shows what we have accomplished over the past year, how the steel atrium roof is beginning to take shape and how impressive the new building will be.