At 13.00 on Thursday, around eighty EUR staff and construction workers in helmets, jackets and safety shoes assemble on a windy construction site, between grey walls which will soon form the new multifunctional educational (MFOII) building. Falling materials thud onto the hard concrete. Water is dripping everywhere, and there are cables hanging from the ceiling.

Outside, a long queue of people has formed by the food stall. Construction workers are drinking alcohol-free beer and champagne and devouring a big bag of fries. Since the start of the pandemic, there were two hundred of them here every day. For the first time, their work is starting to resemble a building with walls and windows.

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The lunch break has started next to the Polak building. Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

Director Ellen van Schoten and Peter van Leeuwen from BAM Bouw en Techniek raise a toast with a glass of alcohol-free bubbles. They stand proudly on a small stage. Van Schoten: “From my office opposite, I’ve seen the building gradually taking shape. Everyone has been working extremely hard. I’m sure that this will become a bustling place.” Van Leeuwen is also enthusiastic about the project: “I soon noticed that EUR and the BAM have the same sustainability ambition: a carbon-neutral building with reused materials. At the same time, this is also a very innovative building. The university does not shy away from the fact that if you want sustainable quality, you sometimes need to invest more.”

Van Leeuwen is pleased that the lockdowns did not affect the construction schedule. “Supplies didn’t always arrive —­­ we really had to keep pushing.” Van Leeuwen expects that the building will be delivered this summer.

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Van Leeuwen is pleased that the planning of the construction of the MFO has not been delayed. Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

More modern Polak

According to Van Leeuwen, BAM — which also developed the depot for Boijmans Van Beuningen and the new Erasmus MC — has a lot of expertise in developing sustainable buildings. The new MFOII must become a ‘green oasis’ on campus with the ‘latest methods relating to sustainability’. He thinks that the construction costs will ultimately amount to 25 million euros and add 3,000 study places on campus. Van Leeuwen adds: “The total investment, including the construction of this educational building, will be around 40 million euros.”

A promo video is given a key place during the introduction ceremony. The viewer sees what Van Schoten sees through virtual reality glasses. The computer animation of the future indoor areas shows plant containers against the balustrades, a large central hall with white walls, big windows and tree trunks rising through the various floors from the hall. The building is very similar to Polak, also built as a multifunctional educational building, but slightly more modern due to the combination of green, space and the new technologies.

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Van Schoten and Van Leeuwen closed the ceremony with a palette full of non-alcoholic lager.


After the introduction ceremony, five project leaders take those interested on a tour. Guide Bas van der Zandt, normally responsible for the electrical engineering, is enthusiastic about the building.

The basement shows exactly what is innovative about the building. The pump there will supplement the district heating on cold days. Opposite the pump is a concrete shaft. Van der Zandt explains how it works: “Wind from outside is captured on the roof and dampened using a sprinkler, so that the air becomes heavy and flows downward via the shaft. This air is then distributed via ventilators through the building. The sensors in each area check the air quality and respond. There is also a solar chimney, an area with glass walls where the sun easily heats the air. That warm air naturally flows upwards to the roof. In this way, the air throughout the building is automatically refreshed.”

Bam project leader Bas van der Zandt installed sensors throughout the MFO. Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik

The water and the energy used in the building partly come from the solar panels and the water basin on the roof.

In the central hall, also called the atrium, there are twenty individual Douglas fir tree trunks which support the floating plateaus and footbridges. The thick trunks are eighteen metres high and are up to sixty centimetres in diameter. A large staircase dominates the middle of the hall. Next to the coffee bar, there will also be a lounge on the ground floor.

The upper floors mirror each other and are similar in design. The movable walls are an interesting feature, making it possible to rearrange each area. Movable touch screens will be installed in the study areas. On each floor, there will also be three computer rooms, each accommodating 42 students.

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The new multifunctional educational building next to Polak was completed in the summer. Image credit: Ronald van den Heerik