Back to the 90’s OMA has designed a new center of gravity for the Uithof University Campus, naming it “The Educatorium”. The design is the relationship of two sheets which fold and interlock. The concrete slab is treated as a malleable surface which allows an optimum fit for each program. The sloped planes of the entrance plateau function like an urban plaza or mixing chamber. Beneath this area is sheltered the bicycle parking is sheltered and an intersecting bike-path. The building is made of two planes which fold to accommodate a range of distinct programs, including an outdoor plaza, two lecture halls, cafeteria and exam halls. Planes interlock to create a single trajectory in which the entire university experience – socialization, learning, examination.
OMA’s description for the project: “The two auditoria are accessed via the large entry area ramp. Oriented towards the north side the larger auditorium is open to the view of the botanical gardens. Two curving walls enclose the room, one solid, one of glass. Laminated with a holographic film which changes between transparent or translucent depending on the viewer’s point, the glass wall acts as a fabricated cloud alternately clearing and obscuring the view to the outside while providing a screen of privacy for the interior“.
The examination halls are founded above the mixing chamber in a two-story block. While specifically planned for mass examinations, they are also designed to allow varied configurations of furnishing and inhabitation. A second auditorium with 400 seats is situated to the south and beneath the floor of the auditoria is located the cafeteria.
“The lines of columns are denser to the south and almost disappear to the north towards the landscape beyond. Designed to accommodate up to 1000 people, the sloping ceiling together with the “random” columns generates a series of “places” within the large room. Spanning between two massive walls the roof structure is a densely packed series of I-beams forming a surface of steel. Steel and concrete dissociate allowing each material to work at optimum efficiency: the 20cm thick concrete slab is made to span 21 meters“, explained OMA.
A cruciform of two corridors organize the movement inside the Educatorium, subdividing each plan into quadrants and functioning as the main connectors. A second system of paths allows the building to function as a network. By linking the “pause” areas with circulation, larger open territories are generated as part of strategy of eliminating frontiers in favor of more subtle techniques of separation or inclusion.
Project Information :
Architect : OMA
Location : Utrecht, Netherlands
Project Year : 1992-199
Project Area : 11,000 square meters
Design Team : Cristophe Cornubert with Richard Eelman, Gary Bates, Luc Veeger, Clement Gillet, Michel Melenhorst, Jacques Vink, Gaudi Houdaya, Enno Stemerding, Frans Blok, Henrik Valeur, Boukje Trenning