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LAB42 programme manager Marlies Veldman is proud that the definitive design is now almost finished and takes into account the multitude of wishes in terms of sustainability, circularity, well-being and creativity. LAB42 really invites you to come inside!'Thanks to the transparent facade, you can see what's going on inside, like in the Robot and Visualisation Lab. That arouses people's curiosity,' according to the UvA's Real Estate Development programme manager when asked about the new Faculty of Science building.

Marlies Veldman - Program manager Campus Development LAB42
Programme manager Marlies Veldman
Fa├žade Design
Sustainable and Circular LAB42 (source: Benthem Crouwel Architects)

LAB42 will be a transparent building that has been laid out logically. From inside the ground floor Atrium, you will be able to see at a glance where each part of the building is and how to get from A to B. The architect Benthem Crouwel designed the building in consultation with its users, incorporating the wishes of the various target groups. The definitive design will include ideal spaces for users to focus, collaborate and conduct meetings.

Sustainable

Marlies Veldman is equally proud of the inventive ways in which the building will meet circularity and sustainability requirements. The roof will accommodate a water buffer for the collection of rainwater, which will be used to flush the facility's toilets. The water buffer will be covered by a sedum-covered roof that will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and filtering out fine particulate matter. This will be covered in its turn by solar panels. The energy thus generated will power every installation and piece of equipment in the building. The cooling for 'heavy users', e.g. extremely hot spaces such as server rooms, will be provided by the combined heat and power plant at Amsterdam Science Park. Thanks to these combined measures, the building will be energy-neutral.

Circularity

'We won't include anything in the building that we don't really need', Veldman affirms. For example, there won't be any lowered ceilings to cover up exposed ductwork. The objective is to conserve raw materials and reuse existing materials as much as possible. Another golden rule is an optimal use of modular components, which can be reused separately of each other. To this end, the frame of the building will be formed by a steel skeleton that is fully demountable. The same principle will apply to the floor parts and the partition walls. Veldman is positive that LAB42 will have a useful life of between one and two centuries. As the floor parts and partition walls will be easy to move around, the interior of the building can be reconfigured as desired. If users tire of the facade after 25 years, it can simply be replaced by new panels.

Well-being and health

Veldman relates how every design detail has been planned with the well-being and health of the users in mind. The Atrium roof will allow in plenty of natural light, which will also feature heavily in the teaching and lecture rooms. In addition, users will be able to regulate the room temperature and ventilation themselves, within limits. The windows on the facade side can be opened and the blinds, which will be made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean, can be operated manually. Users will be encouraged to take the stairs as much as possible. For this purpose, the stairs will be in plain sight while the lifts will be concealed, without affecting the building's accessibility.

'Intelligent' workspace

Aside from catering facilities, the Atrium will offer ample space for employees to meet. The teaching and lecture rooms will be located on the first and second floors. The third floor will house special workplaces for partners from the worlds of education, science and business to meet and work together. There will also be a coffee corner and a large lounge area to work or relax in. Finally, the fourth floor will be home to institutional offices. LAB42 will be a unique, 'intelligent' workspace where the teaching, research and business communities can come together. For information scientists, the number 42 needs no introduction, given that it's the answer to life, the universe and everything (from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). This is where the new building gets its name from.