The campus of the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) of Amsterdam is undergoing major development. In the coming years, various new buildings will rise there and the campus plaza will become a central meeting place with a landscape-like layout and high experiential and repose quality. cepezed drew up a plan for a building of more than 31,000 m2 with educational functions, laboratories, offices and commercial space. In a later stage, within another procedure, the project was transferred to another architectural office. The design consists of two elongated bays connected by an atrium under a transparent concave roof. As a result of the intended direct abutment, the bays are oriented in an east-west direction, which restricts mutual peeping-in and also ensures that the north bay looks out over the De Boelelaan, while the south bay has a view of the as-yet bare campus square. Between the bays, a wedge-shaped atrium guarantees sufficient incidence of daylight in the dense architectural context and also makes an important contribution to the spatial perception of the area. The two construction bays are linked by an air bridge, and the storeys by staircases, elevators and lifts.
The floor of the atrium is stepped, which leads to a constellation of varying sky plazas and thus to a large degree of spatial diversity. The two-storey plinth has been realized with transparent materials, which offers an inviting allure. On the south side, the building functions as an extension of the campus square, as it were, while a good view of the ulterior campus square can be gained from the De Boelelaan. In this way, the building forms a sheltering connection between the outer and the inner side of the campus. In the layout of the building, account has been taken of the various types of use and atmosphere; after all, it is a multi-use building with, on the one hand a lively, effervescent and inviting ambience, and on the other, a function as an oasis of tranquillity, concentration, contemplation and knowledge transfer. The convergence of these contrasting qualities can be readily realized by means of a well-considered layout and building-physical implementation. The façades of the upper storeys have horizontal articulation with a powerful allure that harmonizes with the articulation of many other buildings on the VU grounds.