Opening Polak Building

Erasmus University Rotterdam has a new modern educational building. The official opening of the Polak Building on campus Woudestein took place on Monday 31 August 2015. This multifunctional facility reflects the education strategy of Erasmus University, which aims at providing active learning and small scale education.

Polak Building provides state-of-the-art educational areas and 600 study areas. During the recently started renovation of the University Library, 835 workplaces are available for students in Polak, just as many as were available in the UL. The new multifunctional education area thus reflects the education strategy of Erasmus University, aimed at activating, smaller scale education. The opening of Polak Building and the renovation of the UL will increase the total number of study area from 1300 now to 1900 in 2017. The new five storey building also accommodates the Erasmus Data Service Centre and (until the reopening of the UL early in 2017) the UL information desk.

At ground level, there is space for retail in the Erasmus Shopping Plaza, including a hairdresser, launderette, safes, campus shop and a temporary lecture hall. It also provides accommodation for social support organisations and (student) start-ups. Canon, Studystore and Randstad will be represented in the campus shop. 
Polak Building was designed to be flexible, providing scope for a ‘varied programme’. This enables it to respond to educational developments of today and the future. In the long term, the building will also host the academic community.

Polak Building covers around 8,400 square metres. Accessibility, transparency, daylight and visibility were key to the design by Paul de Ruiter architects. The lecture rooms are on the first floor, while students wishing to study independently or in smaller groups will be able to find a quiet space on the upper floors. The five floors are interlinked by a spacious atrium providing plenty of daylight. A special feature is the glass atrium wall, which incorporates solar panels in the glass.

SMT Bouw & Vastgoed and Croon Elektrotechniek were responsible for the construction of the building and Wolter & Dros supplied the installations. Building started in May 2014, with the highest point being reached last December.

The new building was opened on Monday 31 August, immediately after the Opening of the Academic Year, by Rector Magnificus Professor Huibert Pols, along with Bart Straatman (member of the Executive Board) and Vincent Cohen, student at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Vincent is a relative of Professor Nico Polak (1887 - 1948), after whom the new facility is named. Polak was Professor of Business Economics at the Netherlands School of Commerce (NHH) and Netherlands School of Economics (NEH), the predecessors of Erasmus University. In 1922, he became the first professor who was trained at the NHH.

Erasmus University also aims to be one of the most sustainable campuses in the Netherlands. Accordingly, the interior is only made of natural and sustainable materials, including Rotterdam oak. Polak Building also has a sustainable climate installation, optimised insulation, natural ventilation and a minimal technical installations. A unique feature is the facade, where fresh air flows inside through operable louvered shutters in the vertical blinds. These blinds change in depth according to the wind direction, helping them protect the glass from direct sunlight and provide shade. This all contributes to a very energy efficient building.

Polak Building is part of a series of renovations through which Erasmus University is creating a lively campus with international allure, and a pleasant study and working environment. Alongside the recently started renovation of the UL, the refurbishment of the Sanders Building will also begin soon.

More information

Press Office Erasmus University Rotterdam, + 31 10 408 1216 or