Orthopaedic Institute, Rijksuniversiteit GroningenEdit profile
ORTHOPAEDIC INSTITUTE, RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT GRONINGEN JOINTED MOVEMENT The grounds of the Orthopaedic Institute for Joint and Movement Studies are squeezed in between a listed 19th century building belonging to the Rjiksuniversiteit Groningen and some high rise buildings of 10 storeys or more dating from the 1960s. It is also bordered by the new building housing the UN animal testing laboratories, built by Ben van Berkel. It extends from the newly emerging university plaza to the edge of the campus, which borders on the inner city, creating a new portal between the town and the university grounds. The Orthopaedic Institute wanted to erect a major building here to house its institute’s rooms and a main lecture hall with space for 450 students and with a large foyer, connected to the institute’s existing rooms. The new building would therefore have a “jointing` function in urban and programmatic terms as well. Two of the neighbouring buildings were accordingly integrated into the design, providing a side wall. In between, a ground floor for housing 1300 bicycles and three upper storeys to be used for teaching and research were developed in one fluid movement. Behind the glass revolving doors of the entrance area, facing the university plaza, an airy space organised into 3 storeys developed, whose side walls partially consisted of the external walls of the existing developments. From the foyer, a single staircase leads to the two upper storeys, which house all the institutional rooms for orthopaedics. Within its two double arms, the first floor encircles an inner courtyard with garden, laid out on the roof of the lecture hall. At the front of the foyer, a creatively designed concrete wall rises, the highest point of the giant lecture hall, half sunken into the earth. This wall, “Chromosome Technology in Concrete Relief`, was designed in close collaboration with the artist Baukje Trenning. The lecture hall itself falls away towards a large white projection screen. Tables and chairs are combined to form a single large unit of furniture. They are sprayed red all over, a surface treatment technique borrowed from the motor industry. At the centre of the building is the concrete skeleton, a self-supporting column and ceiling construction. Steel “muscles` are connected to this “skeleton`. This is covered by a gleaming golden “shawl`, which spans the building. This “shawl` turns and bends flexibly, stretching over the façade of the entrance and forward to create a single-storey porch, which, visible from a distance, attracts people to the building. It proceeds via the soft roofscape over the three-storey institute building, allowing space for a green inner courtyard, then becomes a façade again and sinks down, wrapping the recessed ground storey like a base, before rising again as a façade opposite the listed building, then opening out into a roof. All that remains open is the face of the university, visible from a distance and wrapped in the golden shawl. This façade, the only one which is not of a piece with the roof, faces the inner city. The leisure areas on the various storeys are located here. The double-curved aluminium “skin` of the building, melted so as to flow, involved a special craft technique. Multiply curving surfaces are not unusual on aeroplanes and ships. For this reason, a shipbuilder was recruited to deal with the statics. All of the double-curved surfaces which are also visible from the inside were made as prefabricated parts. The overlapping of the façade panels provides natural inlets fresh air. The Institute for Movement Studies and its work are interpreted in a gesture of frozen movement, surrounded by a golden shawl covering the “head` of the building and tucked around the “neck` formed by the recessed ground storey, revealing the “face`, which turns towards the town.