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.
LAB42 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 issues.
SMEs and start-ups are able to rent spaces in LAB42 in order to establish themselves. The meeting rooms for researchers and companies are all together on the same floor, they share a number of facilities and there are lounge areas where people can meet. A selection committee decides which businesses are 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 UvA also wants to build a community at LAB42 by encouraging interaction between students, researchers and businesses. It is vital to remain in the vanguard of technological innovation, both in the Netherlands and internationally. We therefore make every effort to design and execute innovative projects within the community.
LAB42 is an accessible and transparent building where staff, students and the business community can all feel at home – a lively and inspirational environment that brings together research, teaching and value creation in the information sciences.
Given its innovative character, scientific relevance and pioneering research, LAB42 provides a home for rising talent and merits a unique design. The word 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).
The overarching interior theme in the design is tech & nature. Tech represents our degree programmes and institutions, and we opted for nature because greenery is a universal need and contributes to a healthy and pleasant work environment.
The building has been designed to promote interaction and collaboration. Students, researchers and business people involved in informatics and AI are able to gather under one roof. Part of the building is reserved to lease space. LAB42 is an energy-neutral (ENG) building of 12,000 m2. This means that the building will produce as much energy as it needs. The support structure of LAB42 is circular and consists of a 100% reusable steel structure that serves as a rack. The steel structure will be easy to adapt and reconfigure in line with future changes.
LAB42 received a nomination for School Building of the Year, as part of the Architectenweb Awards 2023. About LAB42, the jury said: 'The jury appreciates the high degree of innovation and circularity that this educational building offers. Recycled and reusable materials have been used as much as possible. In addition, the demountable design and detailing make any adjustments to the building during its lifespan as simple as possible.'