The University of Amsterdam has started the construction of the new education building LAB42. Construction work is currently in full swing. Joost Vos, architect and partner at Benthem Crouwel Architects, is responsible for the design of LAB42. ‘The new science building is a journey of discovery.’ The aim is to start using this futuristic building in August of the 2022-2023 academic year.
LAB42 will feature teaching rooms, study places, research facilities, workstations and spaces for collaboration on Artificial Intelligence (AI) with other UvA disciplines and external parties. LAB42 will become an international hub for developing talent in the fields of digital innovation and artificial intelligence (AI). The building is the result of a partnership between the UvA, the municipality of Amsterdam and the business sector. The aim is to stimulate meetings, knowledge sharing and cross-pollination between scientists, students, business and society – with appealing facilities and by means of co-creation – in order to provide answers to tomorrow's IT and AI issues.
Due to the increase in the number of students, staff, PhD candidates and new partnerships, the existing education building at Amsterdam Science Park building 904 is no longer large enough to house the entire Faculty of Science.
SMEs and start-ups will be able to rent spaces in LAB42 in order to establish themselves. The meeting rooms for researchers and companies will be on the same floor, they will share a number of facilities and there will be lounge areas where people can meet. A selection committee will decide which businesses will be welcome. The main criterion is that their core business should be a good fit for the topics that the students and researchers are involved in, such as data sciences, AI and infrastructure. The project goes beyond renting out space, as the UvA also wishes to build a community by stimulating interaction between students, researchers and companies from LAB42 with a view to setting up and implementing innovative projects. It is vitally important to remain in the vanguard when it comes to technological developments, both in the Netherlands and internationally.
LAB makes reference to the architect’s vision: ‘With its mix of workplaces, storage rooms, a library, laboratories, clubs and offices, this is much more than just a “science block”, as it seems like anything is possible here.’ LAB also literally reflects the building’s function as a breeding ground and laboratory in the field of informatics. The number 42 is very well known among information scientists, given that it is the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe and everything (from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
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