The Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Groningen University is located on a campus on the north side of the city. A reconstruction plan drawn up by West 8 envisages the campus as an open landscape dotted with individual, eye-catching buildings. Car traffic is relegated to a ring road and only pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are allowed to enter to the campus. This, then, was the context for the new faculty building: an expressive, free-standing building in green surroundings. It comprises clustered spaces for the faculty administration and central services plus general amenities (restaurant, library), lecture rooms and standard classrooms. This programme suggested a division between generic, more public functions on the two lowest floors, which take the form of a glazed plinth, and above that four to five floors arranged in an E-shape around two open patios. These upper floors are enclosed by a semi-transparent, screen-printed glass facade. The striking indigo blue colour, which makes the building stand out, was chosen in consultation with the client. The blue colour varies during the day. The construction is vaguely visible behind the screen- printed glass what simultaneously reflects its surrounding. It gives the building a layered glance. The completely transparent plinth varies in height and follows the public functions on the inside. The space required by the collective amenities and the raked floors of the lecture rooms generate a series of voids, terraces and staircases that together make for a lively interior world. This effect is heightened by one of the lecture rooms which appears to float above the plinth. The building is entered at first-floor level via a neon lighted stepped floor near the restaurant.


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Building Activity

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