A long-term process, that's how you can best decribe the run-up to the relocation of ITC to the campus alone. Over the past decade, it has been a coming and going of plans: the Horst of Technohal as a new home, for example, were viable scenarios in 2013. In the years that followed, The Spiegel was the intended location, until those plans were called into question: ITC 'preferably' moved to the O&O square.
Supported by the Executive Board and a new Long-Term Strategic Housing Plan (LTSH), an intended 'spectacular change' would take place there: ITC on the Citadel site, in a 'distinctive and sustainable' building as high as the Horst tower. But those plans did not make it either. The cause: increased costs in the construction sector. After a search for alternatives, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place at the beginning of 2019: ITC will move into Langezijds in 2022.There have been no more deviations from these plans. And in fact there is no turning back. The preliminary design was on the table this spring. The final design has now been finalised and approved by the University Council and the Supervisory Board. The demolition work started at the end of October and the tender for the construction and installation is underway.
It leads to a lot of enthusiasm and energy among those involved, says Annemarie Arets, who leads the ITC working group. 'Yes, it's a long process all in all. Certainly if you're not directly involved, it's difficult to have a picture and perspective of what we're working towards. But now that it's getting closer, people are embracing it more and more. We are getting a very nice building, at a fantastic location. The move to the O&O square is the ultimate finale to the integration of ITC at the UT.'
It is not that cooperation with other parties within the UT is unsatisfactory, emphasises Arets. 'On the contrary, there is a lot going on. But the biggest ideas come from coincidental encounters. We're very open to that and we know that a location plays a key role. I'm therefore very curious to see what kind of spontaneous initiatives arise when our students and staff are on campus in large numbers.'
Building of the future
The 'social heart' of the new ITC accommodation, for example, can also play an important role in this, says Arets. 'In our current building, our garden and our restaurant fulfil that social function; these are the places that bring the faculty together. We would very much like to see that function reflected in the new building. No, not as a replica. We're creating a building of the future, that's what we're setting it up for.'
Incidentally, the ITC staff don't have to fear that they will miss the familiar greenery of their courtyard. In addition to the social heart, the new building will have 'green lungs': inside the building there will be gardens, surrounded by study and work areas. 'What kind of plants and greenery we can best use for this, we still have to decide', says Rob Nengerman, project leader from Campus & Facility Management. 'But it's going to be a lot more than the two trees in the Technohal. That was also in the programme of requirements: a healthy, green and sustainable building inspired by nature and ITC's research.'
Sustainability is of paramount importance in this construction project, Nengerman explains. 'The indoor gardens are not only there for decoration, but also help with natural ventilation. We are also installing solar panels on the roof and reusing the old sun blinds for the facade. We also try to collect rainwater, which we can then use to water the plants in the courtyards. For this we also had a session at Burgers' Zoo.'
The ITC community was already thinking along throughout the whole process, adds Arets. 'We still have to determine who exactly ends up where. But the community has already thought along well in various workshops and other sessions. People literally walked past the building blueprints. All in all, we now have a clear picture of the layout of spaces and the clustering of departments. What was put forward during the workshops has been well incorporated into the design.'
Construction starting this spring
The demolition is scheduled to be completed in February. 'The tender for the construction is in progress,' says Nengerman. 'We have selected three construction parties and five installation parties to submit a tender. If we can get this all done in time, the construction companies will be able to start work immediately after the demolition has been completed.' What further needs to be done, for example, is to furnish the social heart and the new restaurant, in consultation with caterer Appèl. 'And we absolutely mustn't forget the square at the entrance, which we want to link up well with the O&O square, but which will also have its own green character', says Nengerman.
If the project is not delayed, the UT will mark a new milestone in the summer of 2022: the long-awaited arrival of ITC on campus.