Striving for sustainability & circularity
MFO II – an educational building putting energy neutrality, circularity and vitality first and foremost
The Erasmus University Rotterdam’s (EUR) new multipurpose educational building, MFO II, will be one of the most sustainable university buildings in the Netherlands once completed and forms part of Phase III of our ‘Campus in Development’ programme. This is our master plan for creating an inspiring and stimulating campus. A campus with international allure and lively, sustainable and aesthetically appealing surroundings in which students and staff can learn, work and relax.
Setting ambitious goals
We set ambitious goals for MFO II to align as seamlessly as possible with the university’s strategic priorities (Strategy 2024), in which sustainable development forms one of the seven cornerstones. With our consultants’ advice and assistance, we reformulated our sustainability goals as four central themes and incorporated them into our invitation to tender – energy neutrality, circularity, vitality and integrality.
Our terms of reference specified the following minimum requirements for its sustainability:
- BREEAM 1 rating: ‘Outstanding’
- Building Circularity Performance (BCP/CPG 2 ) score: 8
- Energy Performance Coefficient (EPC): 0
We allowed candidates the freedom to meet these levels as creatively as possible.
We awarded the contract for the design, development and construction of our new multipurpose educational building to a consortium made up of BAM Bouw en Techniek, Paul de Ruiter Architects, Halmos Adviseurs and LBP|SIGHT.
The deciding factor in awarding this consortium the contract was the quality of its plan, the building’s open and transparent design, its flexibility and versatility, and its high level of sustainability. They succeeded in giving circularity and vitality a particularly prominent role in their design.
Leading the way in …
MFO II is more than just energy-neutral – it will actually generate more power than it will use thanks to roof-mounted solar panels, heat pumps and an underground heat and cold storage system.
Perhaps the building’s piece de resistance is its innovative ‘powered by nature’ air-conditioning system developed by Ben Bronsema. The ventilation system produces a natural flow of fresh air, using a combination of a solar chimney, humidifier and venturi roofing. It’s extremely energy- efficient and provides a healthy and pleasant indoor climate.
A water buffer on the roof will help deal more effectively with torrential downpours, which are expected to increase in frequency in the future due to climate change. It will collect and then gradually discharge the water back into the surroundings. Excess rainwater will also be used for the building’s plants and shrubs.
The building will be particularly versatile in terms of its layout thanks to the use of hollow-core slabs spanning more than 16 m (53 ft) and an open column and beam construction. It will be ready for whatever types of hybrid teaching environments will be required in the future and easily modifiable without the need for any large-scale demolition or refurbishment works.
You’ll spot countless examples of biophilic design principles throughout the entire building. ‘Biophilia’ is a hypothesis that suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life. And studies have revealed that interaction with nature or patterns based on nature are beneficial to our mood, happiness and perceptions. With this in mind, it was an easy decision to opt for biophilic design principles.
Indoors, a wide variety of plants and green walls in the atrium and other areas will give the building a very natural, refreshing look and feel. For example, tree trunks – ingeniously incorporated into the building’s design – will support mezzanine areas around its atrium.
The design excels in this respect because it’s striving to achieve the highest possible BREEAM rating – ‘Outstanding’.
With a 9, the building’s circularity performance score is set to exceed our specifications of at least an 8. To achieve this, we’ll be reusing and recycling as many construction materials as possible, for example demolition material from other EUR buildings and sites being demolished or refurbished by BAM.
Once in use, QR codes around the building will provide additional information about the sustainable technologies used in its construction.