Architect: OMA / Rem Koolhaas Team: Cristophe Cornubert with Richard Eelman, Gary Bates, Luc Veeger, Clement

Gillet, Michel Melenhorst, Jacques Vink, Gaudi Houdaya, Enno Stemerding, Frans Blok, Henrik Valeur, Boukje Trenning Location: Utrecht, Netherlands Project Year: 1997 Completed in 1997, the Educatorium in Utrecht, Netherlands was OMAs and Rem Koolhaas’ first university project. Part of a larger masterplan for the campus of De Uithof for Utrecht University to create a more westernized version of a college campus, the Educatorium was designed to be the new center of campus, not only geographically but socially as well.

Understood to be the encapsulation of the entire university experience in one building, Koolhaas and his team at OMA conceptualized the Educatorium as a factory for learning in both the traditional formalistic approach as well as the informal student to student exchange. The Educatorium was designed specifically so that the processes of socialization, learning, and examination would be entangled within one another blurring the boundaries between lounges, classrooms, and corridors such that there is a constant redefinition of what it means to learn in a social environment. The design of the Educatorium is conceptualized as two planes that fold, wrap, and interlock with one another. In section the two planes appear ot be in contention with one another; one plane rigid the other fluid a suggestion as to the programmatic, spatial, and social juxtapositions happening within. In both cases of the concrete floor plates, there is a sense of fluidity – some more apparent than others – where floor becomes wall becomes ceiling in one simple motion. The plastic nature of the concrete evokes a soft, airy quality that enriches the buildings sense of openness and variability of circulation as a network or interconnected paths.

One of the most unique aspects of the Educatorium, which can be attributed to almost all of Koolhaas’ work, is that program is a fluid concept that aligns itself not on a single level, but on a multiplicity of levels where activity occurs above, below, and in between what would be considered normal floor plates. In effect, classrooms, lounges, lecture halls, and general spaces are situated in ways that negotiate the Educatorium’s floor plates that rise from the ground floor throughout the rest of the building.

Rather than a standardized and strict spatial organization, rooms become objects affixed within the volume that begin to create new spatial conditions that force the students to negotiate. This happens in situations where the concrete plate wraps from floor to ceiling creating a sinuous space that is responding to the forces of the building; classrooms create new means of circulation between levels as their objectivity within the volume becomes a spatial division. It is in these moments that the

circulation occurs in the interstitial space where the boundaries are blurred between what is programmed and unprogrammed space.

Koolhaas used these open and flexible situations as opportunities to create varied places within the larger volume for smaller groups to gather. For example, the cafeteria’s volume – which is meant to accommodate 1,000 students – is subjected to the sloping floor plate above; Koolhaas implements a “randomized” column grid to break up the large volume into more intimate spaces that are defined by the clusters of columns in order to detract from the impersonal effects of the larger volume.

As with the notion of the rigid and fluid concrete planes that define the formal aspects of the building, Koolhaas continues the juxtaposition of differences in the circulation, space, social activity as a way in which to contextualize the entire campus and university within one single building.

Since its completion in 1997, the Educatorium has served as precedent to ways in which design can not only enhance the educational process, but it can also promote and sustain new, progressive methods of education.

Utrecht is Educatorium the demonstration, part of a great experiment as Rem Koolhaas, the ability to combine search with a formal program of environmental sustainability in the building. The Educatorium linking the two existing buildings, constructed in the sixties, with a hybrid architecture of glass and steel, divided by a strip of cement whose paths reflect student life and determine the various functional spaces.

The building extends over 11,000 m2 and includes two theaters, conference rooms (for 400 and 500), three rooms for examinations, some study rooms and a dining room (for 950 people). The Educatorium occupies a corner and adjacent to an existing building at its eastern end low. Like a rolling wave, the ground floor is raised through the building and back to create a pumping along the west facade. Defying the conventional Cartesian geometry, this wave of concrete is the main organization Educatorium device, which contains classrooms. The exam rooms are contained in a more conventional. Some of these large volumes static, two runners cross intersection define the main axes of movement


To study the sustainability of the project, Koolhaas has enjoyed the cooperation of the architect Cristophe Cornubert (WCO) that specializes in sustainable alternatives for the disposal of materials harmful to the environment. The two architects have done a building that wants to reduce energy consumption and emission of carbon dioxide, and to provide good indoor thermal and visual conditions through control of natural lighting and heating-air conditioning. To minimize the spread and use of energy in the north and west facades, there have been some large areas of glass insulators that guarantee a perfect effect of solar radiation, thereby allowing the accumulation of heat and the greenhouse effect saving electricity for lighting. In the study rooms, the lighting system is the ideal natural result of the use of windows for low vision and high windows for lighting. The latter led to the rays of light-colored roof that reflects light and power to the reading tables. In summer, this facade, which is fully glazed, is shaded by large trees, while the south has a mixed system of semi-screens that allow light to filter in a different way depending on the internal usage. The building's heating system uses cogeneration facility directly from college and uses the underground heat which also uses the boiler water supply. For air conditioning uses a passive ventilation system that uses the phenomenon of night cooling and heat capacity of the mass of the building without having to use additional mechanical systems. The flow of air inside the building is obtained with a balanced ventilation system is based on traveling through the soil and cable outlets air of self-adjustment. Arcade coverage theaters, conference rooms, generated by the curve of the tape sectioned cement building, is interesting not only from a compositional point of view but also from the approach of building sustainable extradós her is covered with Grass that guarantees a greater thermal and acoustic insulation of interiors and offers a pleasant green landscape to the study rooms that are on it. The choice of leaving the structure of cement in sight and the use of a smaller amount of this material, with a thickness of 20 cm instead of 60 cm, provide an aesthetics of the building and confirm that sustainable construction can be synonymous Good architecture

The Educatorium is composed of two planes which fold to accommodate a range of distinct programs, including an outdoor plaza, two lecture halls, cafeteria and exam halls. Planes interlock to create a single trajectory in which the entire university experience - socialization, learning, examination - is encapsulated. Hide The Educatorium is conceived as a new center of gravity for the Uithof University Campus. The point of departure of the design are two sheets which fold and interlock. The concrete slab is treated as a malleable surface which allows an optimum fit for each program. The sloped planes of the entrance plateau function like an urban plaza or mixing chamber. Beneath this area is sheltered the bicycle parking and intersecting bike-path. Above the mixing chamber is the two-story block of examination halls. While specifically

planned for mass examinations they are also designed to allow varied configurations of furnishing and inhabitation. The two auditoria are accessed via the large entry area ramp. Oriented towards the north side the larger auditorium is open to the view of the botanical gardens. Two curving walls enclose the room, one solid, one of glass. Laminated with a holographic film which changes between transparent or translucent depending on the viewer`s point, the glass wall acts as a fabricated cloud alternately clearing and obscuring the view to the outside while providing a screen of privacy for the interior. In the ceiling, steel reinforcement bars emerge from the exposed concrete slab. Steel and concrete dissociate allowing each material to work at optimum efficiency: the 20cm thick concrete slab is made to span 21 metres. The second auditorium with 400 seats is situated to the south. Spanning between two massive walls the roof structure is a densely packed series of I-beams forming a surface of steel. The cafeteria is situated beneath the floor of the auditoria. The lines of columns are denser to the south and almost disappear to the north towards the landscape beyond. Designed to accommodate up to 1000 people, the sloping ceiling together with the "random" columns generates a series of "places" within the large room. Circulation in the Educatorium is organized around a cruciform of two corridors subdividing each plan into quadrants and functioning as the main connectors. A second system of paths allows the building to function as a network. By merging the "pause" areas with circulation, larger open territories are generated as part of strategy of eliminating frontiers in favour of more subtle techniques of separation or inclusion.