The Inholland University of Applied Science (formerly Ichthus University of professional education) is situated on the Kop van Zuid area in Rotterdam. The area was once an industrial harbour surrounded by 19th and early-20th century architecture. The new building refers to this harbour aesthetic, in urban scale as well as in typology. The client’s objectives were to create a flexible 21st-century school that has both a transparent and open appearance as well as relating to the existing 19th century brick buildings of the city’s urban plan. As the school preferred to keep future options open, the concept was to design a flexible building layout that could allow for floors to be partially rented for commercial use if necessary in the future. The building maximises the site available, consisting of two accommodation wings that enclose a central atrium space. The functions that require the more specific and public spaces are placed on the first three floors of the building, with the classrooms on the upper six floors. The immense atrium extends over the full height of the building, creating a spacious heart to the building along the south façade.
The building is executed predominantly in cobalt blue screen printed and clear glass, both to maximise the internal flexibility and optimise the views out over the harbour. This expansive use of glass creates an open character to the building and as such expresses the school’s philosophy.