05 Jan Architecture – Creating Science Park 904

Just a Sunday at the Faculty .

Architecture is quite special. It’s almost like mathematics, where some people easily see the logic of a set of numbers, and others need more help finding it. In the same way some people just ‘feel’ architecture, while others – like myself – need more help to know what they should actually look at. But I am about to become a feeling and aesthetic person as I take a closer look at the architecture of our faculty buildings at Science Park 904. Join me on this inspirational journey!

The project

The University of Amsterdam had a clear ambition when they invited three different architects to design Science Park. This ambition was to build a big, open, recognizable and differentiated building. To achieve this, different architects were brought together. These architects were Rudy Uytenhaak, Herman Hertzberger and Meyer & Van Schooten. On their collaboration, Uytenhaak draws a similarity with dancing: ‘The first time you do not really understand each other. After a while you get to know one another and the dance becomes more fluent.’ Uytenhaak elaborated on this by comparing their collaboration to chemistry. (Don’t trust atoms, they make up everything, Mr. Uytenhaak!)

Articulation of the interaction

Photo by Johnny Vogel

Our chummy coffee corner protected by the wooden structure of main lecture hall.

The motto given by the UvA to the architects was Articulation of the Interaction.  Let’s specify this motto. Amsterdam Science Park is located relatively far away from the city centre. The other faculties of the UvA are located in dynamic-urban environments, which stimulates new ideas and interaction. The proposed location of Science Park was clearly different, isolated from human activity in a windswept polder. To create an artificial dynamic-urban environment, the motto ‘articulation of the interaction’ was formulated. About this, Uytenhaak says: ‘In the design we have tried to stimulate synergy, interaction and encountering. People can encounter each other everywhere.’  So, Science Park is designed as an artificial urban area were you meet fellow students and colleagues everywhere. In some way I see the connection between Dam Square and Monday morning at Science Park.

Hanne Nijhuis

“Living cells” according to architects Meyer & van Schooten.

Where different styles meet…

For the trained eye, the architectural style differences between different parts of the building are clear. All architects have a central theme or colour combination. Uytenhaak designed the coffee corner with black and red colours ‘protected’ – his own words – by the wooden carcass of main lecture hall C1.110 which hangs in the central hall. Uytenhaak is as well responsible for the smooth and white design on the second, third and fourth floor of the C Building. Hertzberger designed the labs on the second, third and fourth floor were the Anton Pannekoek Institute is located.  Meyer & Van Schooten designed the Library and the computer aquariums with a dark wooden floor and the characteristic wall with a studs pattern which symbolizes living cells.  Where both styles meet, bridges, stairs and balustrades are the result. Stairs with irregular steps connect the higher floors of the C-building and the D-building, it’s almost like the two architects weren’t able to make a decision about which type of stair would suit Science Park better.  

Photo by Johnny Vogel

The articulation of interaction. Urban-dynamic environment where you encounter people constantly.

Main sights for newborn architecture buffs

  • Stairs to connect the ‘split-level’ between C and D: these are designed for minimum vibrations, so as not to interfere with the experimental physics setups in D
  • Hanging lecture hall which protects the coffee corner
  • 4th floor for the C part. Walk from the Grappa institute to the  SILS common room. Find the shortest route!
  • The green stairs behind the black couches, first floor B-building. Climb the stairs to the third floor. Turn left were an island of working spots is located. Enjoy the view and look at the sharp boundary between white and green.

After this amazing architecture journey,  I definitely became more aware of the beauty in buildings around me. Hopefully the same has happened to you, or you at least learned something new about the architecture of Science Park 904! So what do you think? Which parts of Science Park would you design differently or which parts do you think is most attractive? Let us know in the comments!

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WTF Johnny

WTF Johnny

- Curious - Absent-minded - Pretending to be a musician - Small ecological footprint - Ryszard Kapuscinsky-style journalist - Living in the Science Park library - Traveller
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