The Erasmus MC is a large complex that contains many different elements. Its most eye-catching feature is the white tower of the Medical Faculty, which was designed in 1965-68 by the Delft office of OD 205, right next to the Dijkzigt Hospital (built between 1952-61).
In 2002, the Executive Board decided to undertake a complete refurbishment with particular focus on the educational facilities. Claus en Kaan Architecten won the architectural competition which was held in 2003 to prepare a master plan. This design is prompted by the desire for a better integration of all the teaching facilities connected with the Medical Centre.
The Medical Centre thereby hoped to optimise the synergy between the departments, their staff and their expertise. This ambition called for a new building that matches both the goals and the existing buildings on location. The design, however, also contributed to a better integration and linking of the entire Erasmus Medical Centre with the city.
In that process the Westzeedijk, but especially the adjacent Museumpark, must be transformed from barriers into a turntable or meeting point. After all, other institutions border on this park which also contribute to an urban culture such as the museums, the Kunsthal, the Medical Faculty, the Polytechnic, and the Erasmiaans Gymnasium. The urban and cultural potential of the park and its potential as a flywheel have hardly been exploited so far.
The idea of a turntable and meeting point can also be seen inside the building itself. Various components of health care are represented with their teaching institution in the new Teaching Centre. During their study, students can meet and exchange ideas with colleagues from related disciplines. The master plan, with a strategy and sketch design, envisages a large study landscape as the focal point of the Teaching Centre where all students, teachers and members of staff are able to meet one another.
One of the main features of the Education Centre is the monumental bookcase in the Medical Library which stands at the far end of the hall flanked by two pristine white spiral staircases. Spanning 35 m long by 11 m high: it can store 2 km of books! It stands along the wall where the hall is at its widest and includes openings at regular intervals to let the daylight through.
This bookcase, the study islands, wooden furniture and wooden walls work together to make the hall a pleasant environment for students to study privately or linger with friends. The central meeting point in the Education Center is the Onderwijsplein (Education Square). It includes more than 400 work and study places, the Medical Library, computer and catering facilities.
Iconic elements in the design are the glass roof, which covers the complete square and the enormous wall of books containing two kilometres of scientific books and journals. The team of architects drew inspiration for the design from large hotel lobbies and libraries. They sought tranquility, simplicity and a clear layout in this complex environment where many people gather. The roof is the most impressive part of the design.
The large, almost column-free span has a wonderful geometric design where the sound and incidence of light are regulated. Also particularly remarkable is the more than 35 meters long and eleven meters high bookcase containing the Medical Library collection found at the head of the education square. A study landscape has been created on the education square consisting of open plan islands with units at different heights where students can study and work, both individually and in groups.
Some units are more enclosed to minimize disturbance. The ‘old’ lecture rooms have been renovated to meet all modern requirements. One of these rooms, the Professor Andries Querido Hall, has been designed as ceremonial hall and will be used for thesis defense ceremonies, doctoral graduation ceremonies and symposia.
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands Architects:Claus en Kaan Architecten Project Team: Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio Design adviser: Aronsohn Raadgevende Ingenieurs Main contractor: J.P. van Eesteren Bespoke joinery walls / doors: Van der Plas Meubel en Project ‘s-Hertogenbosch Solidwood furniture: 13Speciaal Parquet flooring: Finesse Parket Rosmalen Bespoke joinery (study islands): Retera Veldhoven Coffee bar: Roverdi, Berkel en Rodenrijs Gross floor area: 34,000 m2 Cost: €52 million, excl. VAT Year: 2012 Client:Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam