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New Research Building

The VU Research Building will be a 27,000 m2 bèta medical lab building and is the next step in the renewal of beta housing and research infrastructure.

The building will accommodate a wide range of facilities and functions needed for education and research within the Human Health & Life Sciences theme and the departments Physics, Neurosciences, and Earth Sciences. The building was designed by CEPEZED.

The VU Research Building is unique because it was designed as a completely vibration-free building, although the immediate environment produces lots of vibrations as there are both tram and train tracks nearby as well as the busy ring road of Amsterdam that will also be subject to renovation work in the coming years. The building will boast sophisticated measuring equipment, for example the electron microscopes in the VU LaserLaB.

Film New Research Building: highest point has been reached

The highest point has been reached! The construction of the structure of the building is now complete. In this film you can see how the construction took place.

About the New Research Building

  • Labs

    What would the VU Research Building be without a range of modern and well-equipped laboratories? With this in mind, VU Amsterdam signed a contract on 31 March 2021 with POTTEAU Labo. Despite stiff competition from five other lab furnishing companies, POTTEAU won a tender with a strong emphasis on sustainability, safety and innovation.

    The VU Research Building will house the full range of laboratories that are currently housed in the Maths and Physics Building. The building offers a low vibration environment to ensure that the university’s laser labs will experience a minimum of external vibration. This is key to making high-precision measurements. The temperature in the new building can also be kept stable throughout the year, another factor which makes measurement more accurate.

    Approximately 500 people will work in the VU Research Building. The new building will consist of two structures, a front section and a rear section, the latter being virtually vibration-free. The building as a whole will accommodate a wide range of functions and research facilities. These will include:

    • Radioactive materials labs
      This is an environment where earth scientists mark materials with radioactive substances for imaging purposes. Neuroscientists, for example, carry out research into how our brains function with the aim of detecting Alzheimer’s disease in its earlier stages. The Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) will also be moving into the new building in a few years’ time.
    • The cleanroom
      This lab will be constructed in such a way that no fine dust can enter. This is especially important for metal particles, which can affect the precision of measurements being made. No metal will be used in the construction of the lab, even down to the screws in the furniture, which will be made of plastic. This environment will even enable scientists to dissolve stones and accurately determine their age and origin by examining the particles present.
    • Isotope lab
      In this lab, earth scientists use sensitive equipment to measure isotopes. Isotopes are in everything you eat and build up in your body over the years. It enables researchers to pinpoint the origin and age of stones, animals, remains and even the pigments used in artworks from the collections of leading museums (e.g. Girl with the Pearl Earring).
    • Laser labs
      The VU Research Building will house no fewer than 65 laser set-ups. Some are intended for research in the field of medicine, while others are dedicated to discovering ways to produce energy sustainably and efficiently. For instance, scientists are trying to observe and ultimately reproduce the way algae convert sunlight, with a view to generating a highly efficient and sustainable form of energy. To reduce vibrations even further, the research teams will bring their air-suspension tables from the old labs with them, each weighing a couple of hundred kilos. The structure of the building itself has also been optimized to prevent vibration.
    • Workshop
      A workshop has been established to support the research, where technicians design and make research set-ups or components. This facility even designs and produces cutting-edge electrical engineering technology.
  • Facts

    The opening of the new research building is planned for 2023. Together with the 0|2 Lab building and the New University building, this research building is the replacement for the outdated W&N building, which will be partly demolished in the near future. The building will be situated next to the O|2 Lab building on De Boelelaan.

    Read more in the Factsheet (in Dutch).

  • Sustainable development

    Besides a permanent investment in education and research, VU Amsterdam wants to put its sustainable ambitions into practice in this construction project. With the design of this building, VU Amsterdam aspires to reach the level Excellent of the BREEAM certificate. Sustainable measures have been adopted from the start of the design process. There will be an underground thermal energy storage. The roof will be equipped with solar panels. Furthermore, there will be energy-efficient elevators, led lights, and water-saving sanitary facilities.

  • Construction schedule

    Construction work is roughly divided into the following stages:Mid-May: start of rough completion phase, including placement of primary installations, cavity barriers (between the ceiling and the installations) and interior walls.

    • Mid-May: the highest point has been reached! Watch the time lapse video.
    • Mid-July: start of finishing phase.
    • Early November: building completely sealed off to the elements.
    • The building will be completed in late 2023
  • More information

    For more information and questions about construction (in Dutch): wijbouwen.nu/onderzoeksgebouw-vu.

    For more information on the project you can visit the Zuidas website. 

    See the opening hours of all VU buildings.