Erasmus University Rotterdam investing in new multipurpose educational building

Copyright Paul de Ruiter Architects – Beeld is impressie van de werkelijkheid

Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Executive Board is investing in a sustainable and future-proof Woudestein Campus under the slogan ‘Building new perspectives’. One such ‘perspective’ is a new multipurpose educational building with a wide range of teaching spaces, study/work areas and meeting rooms to be built next to the Polak Building. It’s been designed to be both energy-neutral and climate-proof and will be built using circular construction principles. What’s more, it will incorporate an innovative ventilation system that is almost entirely wind- and solar-powered. Preparatory earthworks are already under way and the building should be in use by academic year 2022–23.

The new educational building – covering some 8,500 m² (91,500 sq ft) – will be one of the most sustainable university buildings in the Netherlands. It’s adding impetus to our goal of creating a sustainable, lively campus for students and staff alike.

Ellen van Schoten

Executive Board member

‘Campus in Development’ – Phase III

These plans form part of the ‘Campus in Development’ programme that the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) introduced several years ago to create more pleasant, sustainable and future-proof surroundings in which to study, work and relax. Huge growth in student numbers meant additional space was needed that could be adapted flexibly to meet ever-changing educational requirements. The Polak Building was a first step towards satisfying this demand, and this new multipurpose educational building takes this a step further with even more space. The total investment, including construction, will be approximately €40 million. EUR awarded the contract for the design, development and construction of its new multipurpose educational building to a consortium made up of BAM Bouw en Techniek, Paul de Ruiter Architects, Buro Harro, 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, flexibility and versatility, and high level of sustainability.

User-centric design

First, Paul de Ruiter Architects entered into dialogue with the EUR and its students. Next, they incorporated all their needs and requirements into a design of a contemporary building that maintained a natural connection with the campus and the adjacent Polak Building (designed by the same firm). Transparent facades provide both natural light ingress and connection with its surroundings. Lots of greenery and wooden elements also create a pleasant, warm ambience with plenty of fresh air.

It was fun to be part of this process and see how the architect incorporated our ideas into the design. It resulted in plenty of study space bathed in natural light and with all the plants, it has a comfortable, cosy ambience.

Elena Linkweiler

Global Business & Sustainability student

Copyright Paul de Ruiter Architects – Beeld is impressie van de werkelijkheid

Circularity & sustainability

The six-storey building, which will accommodate 3,000 or so students on a daily basis, is state-of-the-art in terms of its sustainability and circularity. Its atrium is built from renewably sourced timber, and its overall construction uses as many recycled materials as possible, including demolition material from other EUR buildings and properties being renovated or dismantled by BAM. Once in use, QR codes around the building will provide additional information about the sustainable technologies used in its construction.

Copyright Paul de Ruiter Architects – Beeld is impressie van de werkelijkheid

Powered by nature

Thanks to an ingenious and integral design strategy, the building will also be energy-neutral with an extremely low energy performance coefficient. A revolutionary, new ventilation principle will be used – powered by wind and solar energy. This naturally powered system saves an enormous amount
of energy while providing greater circulation of fresh air than usually achieved in comparable buildings. Its indoor climate will be particularly pleasant. The building will also generate its own power with roof-mounted solar panels, heat pumps and a cold & hot storage system.


The building will be flexible and versatile in its use thanks to its spacious, open floor plans unobstructed by structural columns. Rooms will be made multipurpose with sliding dividing walls to create hybrid working/learning areas, which will also be suitable for virtual teaching methods. Even the building’s data cabling has been designed with this in mind. What’s more, the building can be easily modified to meet users’ future requirements without the need for large-scale demolition or reconstruction.

Together strong

The design is the work of a consortium made up of BAM Bouw en Techniek, Paul de Ruiter Architects, Buro Harro, Halmos Adviseurs and LBP|SIGHT. In addition, BAM Advies & Engineering will be responsible for structural work and abcnova for project and contract management.

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