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Oǀ2 Lab Building


The Oǀ2 Lab Building – A concept unique to the Netherlands

The Oǀ2 Lab Building is one of the first academic buildings in the Netherlands that was developed for a specific research theme: Human Health & Life Sciences. As of January 2016, the building houses researchers from the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the VU University Medical Centre, conducting fundamental and applied scientific and medical research. The building gives researchers access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and will allows partners to rent office and laboratory space. This will contribute to the efficient use of high-end research facilities and promote knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the common theme of Human Life Sciences. Scientists previously spread across the city now work in one place, making it easy to engage in cross-disciplinary research collaboration that benefits all involved.

The building, which was designed by EGM architects, was recently nominated for an MIPIM award in the Best Healthcare Development category. The award honours the most outstanding and accomplished projects around the world with EGM architects the only Dutch architect nominated for this prestigious award this year.

The Oǀ2 Lab building is a multifunctional building where students and scientists can develop and share knowledge in a stimulating environment. The building is designed as a compact cube: the ideal basis for short lines and maximum interaction. For the interior design, Fokkema & Partners worked alongside EGM architects.

Voids have been cut out of the cube in strategic places to create a spatial structure with spectacular lines of sight and that draw daylight deep into the building. The voids converge in the heart of the building where the atrium is made up of inspiring and informal meeting points in which experiences are shared and people can relax in coffee corners.

From the atrium, a glazed interior façade offers views of flexible workspaces. Meeting points are created on the various levels in places where the different functions overlap, fostering social interaction and inspiration. Large voids and broad flights of stairs link the floors to one another and facilitate movement and encounters among users.

The Oǀ2 Lab Building optimises collaboration between researchers from various disciplines and the sharing of high-end research facilities. Each floor consists of an east and west wing, separated by the atrium. Both wings are divided into zones for laboratories, offices and services, allowing staff and visitors to find their way intuitively. On the ground floor, shops and restaurants, an information centre and conference and education spaces are situated, allowing the iconic building to blend smoothly into the campus.

Strikingly slanted ‘Mikado Sticks’ in the large open corners of the outside terraces on the seventh floor of the building fit seamlessly into the column grid above and below. This ingenious structure lends the building its remarkable identity and makes its flexible and functional arrangement possible.

Modern education and research is constantly moving. The building has therefore taken into account the ever-changing research programme. The flexible, universal laboratory modules are designed in a fixed pattern and can be connected if desired, allowing the building to accommodate future developments. The building and its technical facilities have been standardised to a high degree. The basic design for each type of laboratory is 80% identical. Customisation for each research group is provided in the remaining 20%. Spaces are interchangeable and working processes are now better and more efficient. Overall, the design and construction of the building ensures a sustainable and therefore future proof housing of the university’s research and education facilities.

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