"The University of Utrecht in the Netherlands commissioned an urban masterplan by O.M.A. (Art Zaayer) in 1995, and has since invited several well known Dutch architects to contribute to the University campus --De Uithof". For the latest extension the University sought a more modest building to make optimal use of the deep site available. Facing south, but wanting the minimum of direct sunlight, the assignment requires an intelligent and sustainable solution.
The new faculty building of the biomedical cluster (ABC) forms the corner to the existing Academic Hospital of Utrecht. Due to the chaotic nature of the current urban plan, the new building volume seeks to strengthen the existing entrance area of the hospital complex. In addition it needs to retain an independent building identity within the complex and also to form part of the University campus.
On a gross floor area of approximately 14.500 m2, the building consists of three parts: office space, classrooms with individual work spaces ('study landscape') and a restaurant. In both the office and education areas, flexible work environments are provided where different teaching scenarios can occur such as classical lectures, group work and individual research.
Situated in the centre of the building are three cone shaped glass voids, which allow indirect sunlight into the deep building plan. They connect the more public areas in the building with the education floors and are visible from all spaces in the building. The cones integrate the load-bearing structure and serve as large ventilation shafts. The crystal glass shapes thus form a technical backbone as well as the atmospherical heart of the building. Combining a rationalised and orthogonal structure with specific shapes and open areas, the proposal meets the client's expectation of a modest, though enriched environment with an inspiring identity."-http://www.eea-architects.com/projects/abcutrecht.shtml