The large library floors on 'Oude Boteringestraat 18' will soon be making way for workspaces with plenty of daylight, a moot court for law students, various teaching rooms and plenty of spaces to meet. This project will transform the former public library into a new home for the University of Groningen’s Faculty of Law. This month, architects Cruz y Ortiz and Inbo presented their design for the renovation and redevelopment of the building. The plan includes a second entrance (on the Broerstraat side), a new patio to create more daylight and the addition of an extra floor to the existing building.
In 2014, the University of Groningen bought the building at Oude Boteringestraat 18 to provide the growing Faculty of Law with its own building in the city centre. The distinctive building, which was constructed in 1992 and designed by the renowned Italian architect Giorgio Grassi, is of great significance to Groningen as a city of architecture. During this redesign phase, the University collaborated with Cruz y Ortiz / Inbo and consulted with the Municipality of Groningen, the city architect and the original architect Grassi. The expectation is that the Faculty will be able to relocate to its new location in 2023.
‘Our task was to make sure that the new design was in keeping with Grassi’s original style and vision, and to carefully embed it in the urban environment of the city centre. The extra entrance will provide the Faculty with an improved connection to the other University buildings in the vicinity,’ say Muriel Huisman and Trude de Vroomen of architects Cruz y Ortiz / Inbo. ‘These plans will give the building a substantial upgrade and transform it into an open and transparent place to study and work for the Faculty’s students and staff.’
To accommodate the Faculty’s research and teaching activities, 6,000 m2 of offices/workspaces with plenty of daylight and teaching rooms will be created. Floors one to four will provide space for offices of various sizes and meeting areas. Meeting areas will be located in the centre of these floors, which will be connected to the other floors by additional stairs. ‘We are particularly looking forward to the connection between staff members from different departments and, of course, to meeting our students in a single building. The Faculty is at the heart of society and, despite its rich history, is very modern. We are therefore delighted that the Faculty will once again be located in the heart of the city,’ says Hanneke van den Berg, Managing Director at the Faculty of Law. ‘We attach great importance to an open and transparent appearance and a building that is fully accessible. The teaching rooms have been designed so that they can be used flexibly, thereby contributing to our educational concept of active, blended and contextual learning.’
Upon entering via the main entrance or the new entrance on Broerstraat, visitors will be welcomed in a central meeting area with a reception desk, a coffee bar and spaces to sit and study that continue into the wings. In the left wing of the building, daylight will soon be able to reach the heart of the building thanks to a new patio.
A wide podium staircase connects the central reception area with the basement, where there is space for study associations and the moot court. This space can also be used for other forms of teaching. The basement also houses the indoor bicycle parking area, which is accessible from the current entrance on Oude Boteringestraat and from a new bicycle entrance at the rear of the building.
By adding the fourth floor, the building will have space to accommodate the Faculty for the long term. Grassi actually envisaged this extra floor during his original design, and it will now be constructed with great care, in keeping with the contours and architecture of the existing building. A new, similar stone will be used to ensure a smooth transition on the façade. During the construction phase, essential maintenance work will also be carried out on the outside of the building – on all the windows, frames and brickwork, so the entire building will have a refreshed exterior.
The final design has now been finalized. In the coming period, the tendering procedure will start to select a construction contractor. The building project is expected to take about one and a half years to complete. The Faculty of Law should therefore be able to move into its new premises in time for the start of the 2023-2024 academic year.
Cruz y Ortiz / Inbo
Amsterdam and Heerenveen
Building physics and fire safety Advisor
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