Less than five seconds after we arrive on the sun-drenched construction site in Van der Boechorststraat, we hear a friendly warning: ‘You’re not permitted to enter without a helmet and safety jacket. Who are you here for?’ We have an appointment with Marianne van der Bent, project manager at Amsterdam UMC and with Albert de Vries, project manager representing the MedicomZes-Kuijpers construction consortium. The ADORE Research & Diagnostic Centre is set to open in 2025. How is construction progressing?
Regeneration of VU Campus
Van der Bent has been involved in this project and its predecessors since 2007. The building is part of plans for the regeneration of the VU Campus, which includes the construction of the VU Amsterdam research building on the site of the former Schoolwerktuinen in De Boelelaan. ‘I initially started with the development of the O|2 Lab Building. But there was also an increasing need for a building with laboratories for diagnostics and research.’
ADORE: Amsterdam Oncology and Neuroscience
The ADORE Research & Diagnostic Centre is now set to be that building. In the five-storey research building, oncologists and neurologists will join forces in order to identify links between cancer and brain diseases. They hope this will lead to new diagnostics and innovative therapies, accelerating breakthroughs in both fields of research. On the ground and first floors, there are diagnostics in the field of human genetics and pathology. The second floor is home to ‘facility laboratories’: research rooms for the use of all of the researchers in the building. The three floors above provide accommodation for research into oncology and neurology.
Challenges and highest point
‘This new building was given the go-ahead at the end of 2021’, says De Vries. ‘Since then, the lead times for materials, for electrical engineering, for example, have been fluctuating quite a lot. We’ve been able to cope with this thanks to regular coordination with the commissioning authority Amsterdam UMC and effective planning.’ The building has now reached its highest point. It reaches around 30 m into the air, whereas it was barely protruding above ground level when the thermal energy storage system (WKO) was installed at the end of 2022. De Vries: ‘The outer walls are wind- and water-proof. We’re now completing the seal on the roof, putting the final touches to the steel roof structure.’
Inner courtyard and atrium
The roof structure will support a glass dome, which in turn will provide natural daylight to the heart of the ADORE Research & Diagnostic Center: the inner courtyard on the second floor. This large patio in the centre of the building features an open staircase that spirals down like a helix, connecting the upper floors to each other. There is also another publicly-accessible atrium on the ground floor that connects the research centre with the adjacent Imaging Center. ‘A short time ago, we connected the atrium to both buildings and scaffolding will soon be set up here to install a glass roof’, says De Vries.
Building in quadrants
Following finishing work on the façade elements, major progress has now been made on the final construction work on the building up to the third floor. ‘The main routing for the systems and installations is already in place’, says Van der Bent. ‘After the construction industry holiday, in mid-August, we’ll begin the final fitting out, such as the ceilings’, adds De Vries. ‘We’re working floor by floor, from the bottom up and in four consecutive quadrants: the walls/columns and floor formwork come first, followed by the reinforcement and concrete from the A10 pouring. This creates a ‘train’ sequence in the works, ensuring that work can always be done somewhere on that particular floor.’ They then continue this quadrant-based construction in the final construction work and fitting out – making efficient use of both materials and staff.
The building is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2024. It is set to open in 2025. In total, around 800 people will come to work here, with the focus on collaboration. It is to be hoped that they can work in the same harmony as Amsterdam UMC and the construction consortium. ‘We managed to create a great atmosphere where we can be honest with each other’, says Van der Bent. ‘That hasn’t always been my experience in the past.’