Zuidas Business District Imaging Center VUmc

Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center approaches completion

Walking around the new building on Van der Boechorststraat is a truly spectacular experience. This is the site of a new medical research and treatment centre that is second to none: the Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center.

Based at the VUmc location, the Amsterdam UMC Imaging Center will bring together the latest imaging techniques, tracer development facilities and experts from a range of disciplines. This will be of major benefit for patients suffering from cancer, brain disorders or cardiovascular diseases. The imaging facilities will enable doctors and researchers to see how patients’ organs are functioning, detect diseases at an early stage, plan therapies and determine their effects. They can also use imaging to monitor the effect of drugs in the body, for example by identifying where exactly in the body the cancer cells are located. Or by precisely visualising how the tumour and drugs are responding. This will significantly improve the effectiveness of treatment and with it the chance of recovery.

The central foyer in the Imaging Center, June 2018
Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Sea of light

During the guided tour, specialists from the ULC Installatiegroep were busy installing climate-control equipment and other technical systems. The company, established in 1923 as the Utrecht Plumbers’ Consortium, is itself a prime example of innovation. Other companies are now also hard at work inside the building. The most eye-catching feature of the new building is the amount of light within it. Architects’ firm Wiegerinck has succeeded in designing and building that is bathed in a sea of light. This is despite the fact that scans are usually best examined in the dark. The interior designer D/Dock is also hard at work. Across the building, furniture is grouped into islands of calm. There is also a special room for children where they can stay in a pleasant atmosphere. The entire building oozes calm, transparency and control.

100,000 scans

The imaging centre is opposite the Amsterdam UMC’s VUmc location. For patients, there will be a connection from the imaging centre to the first floor of the hospital. This will enable easy access for patients to all types of different scans, from CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans through to mammograms. It is estimated that more than 100,000 scans will be completed and assessed every year. The Imaging Centre will also play host to the Tracer Center Amsterdam and the VU’s acclaimed LaserLab Amsterdam.

The installation of technical systems, March 2018
Photo: Marcel Steinbach

Underground innovation

Even underground, there is a world of innovation. This is where the particle accelerators, or cyclotrons, are to be found: highly-advanced devices that can make medical isotopes on a large scale. Medical isotopes are electrically-charged particles that are indispensable in treating cancer, brain disorders or cardiovascular diseases. The cyclotrons were lifted underground in September 2018 and placed in bunkers with walls that are metres thick. The Imaging Center will not only be making isotopes and tracers for its own use, but also for hospitals elsewhere in the Netherlands and even abroad. Special vehicles will drive through an entrance on Van der Boechorststraat through an underground logistics area and into the Imaging Center.

A cyclotron is delivered by truck...
...brought underground under metres of concrete...
...and positioned with precision, September 2018 Photo: Marcel Steinbach

More medical centres

On the outside, the Imaging Center is anticipating what else is likely to happen in this part of the Zuidas. Over the longer term, Amsterdam UMC plans to add other medical centres to the Imaging Center. The high columns that are so characteristic of the building will soon also feature in a diagnostic lab that will be connected to the Imaging Center via an atrium. Ultimately, there will be several new buildings here which, together with the existing Amsterdam UMC hospital, will form the shape of a diamond. Zuidas Botanical Gardens will be located in the centre of the diamond. The construction of the Imaging Center has already factored in the large atrium that will ultimately form the entrance to several buildings via Van de Boechorststraat.

Boost

But that’s something for the future. The Imaging Center however is very much in the here and now. It will officially open straight after the summer of 2019. The Imaging Center will give an important boost to the development of the Amsterdam region and the Zuidas in particular. As an international centre for business, science and health and as a centre for state-of-the-art healthcare.

Photo: Marcel Steinbach

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