Q&A

On 3 April 2104, students and staff had the opportunity to pose questions about the DIY-project. This was in follow-up to the presentation of Annelies van Eenennaam, that can be viewed via this video.

Part 2 of the questions were answered in April 2015. In the meantime, slight alterations in the design were made. Therefore, the answers aren’t entirely up to date. In spite of this, they provide a good picture of the project.

Do you have a question yourself? Ask it here.

Part 3May 2015

  1. Is it desirable to allocate such an amount of space for encounters?

    The areas where encounters between users will most likely take place generally have a specific function: workshops, assembling hall, project spaces, theory rooms etc. The design foresees in more areas to facilitate groups than the current situation offers. In these areas encounters can happen, an added value in our opinion.

  2. Meeting spaces are often messy, noisy and poorly maintained. Who will be responsible for these areas?

    See previous answer. We will make sure each space has a responsible ‘owner’. In the cases where it’s not a workshop (where a workshop assistant is responsible), maintenance will be taken care of by the Facilities Department (Facilitaire Zaken). A concierge (Willem Rieder) is currently responsible for the temporary location on Vetterstraat. He will play an important roll in managing the new building.

  3. Does the new building design allow the possibility of easily (and at low cost) changing the function of a room or area?

    Yes, we’ve strived for as much flexibility as possible. Especially on the first floor of the new building where the education areas for the Sandberg Institute have been planned, flexibility was deliberately strived for. The space can be used ‘open’ but also split up into several smaller spaces. The ground floor and the basement are less flexible because of the specific functions and work shop facilities that are planned there. But even on those two floors we strive for as much flexibility as possible.

  4. Does the design foresee in, possibly, changing the appearance of the building in the future (For example replacing the sheets of white corrugated iron)?

    This wasn’t accounted for. The design team has made choices about the use of materials originating from the concept of the building design. It’s very unusual to make alterations on ones own accord in a later stage. Should for any reason the result not meet expectations, then a consultation with the design team lies within the possibilities. Technically speaking it will most likely be possible to replace or adapt materials and parts of the building.

Part 2April 2015

  1. Storage: Does the new building offer enough storage space for artworks?

    The departments will basically have to take care of storage space themselves, within their designated area, ust like right now. The square meters given to the departments include storage space. Temporary storage will be provided close to the assembly hall, to be used when working around there. Managing storage space is not a simple task due to the continuous production of new works. One of the main goals is to use as much space as possible for education, more storage space would interfere with this. Unfortunately the available space is limited.

  2. What about the wind sensitivity of the work spaces outside?

    (We mainly address the walkable roof here.) A net will be installed around the work area on the roof in such a way that objects that can be blown away cannot fall down. We definitely want to avoid dangerous situations. Besides, it’s up to the students themselves how to use the work spaces outside. Obviously, the weather will have to be taken into consideration when working outside.

  3. Will the new building be connected to the Rietveld building on level -1?

    No. There was a connection in the previous version of the DefinitiveDesign, but it is no longer there in the revised version. The reason for this was the preservation of the cultural and historical value of the existing Rietveld building. By disconnecting the new building from the existing one, the Rietveld building remains fully intact. The new building will be connected to the Benthem Crouwel building via a bridge, however.

  4. What about the planned staircase from the gymnasium to the space of the current canteen?

    The staircase is on our wish list, but it isn’t clear if it’ll be realized during the construction of the new building The building of the staircase could also take place in the future, in case we run out of budget now.

  5. Will there be enough room left for quieter spaces where it is possible to concentrate given the open design?

    The library in the new building will have silent zones to enable students to work quietly. The library will therefore be bigger than it is right now. More floor space has been added to make this possible. The service center, which will also be located in the new building, will offer more dynamic work spaces. In addition to this, departments will have classrooms and project spaces where individual students or groups can work. These spaces can be reserved for a couple of days, up to a maximum of two weeks. There are also consultation and theory rooms that can be reserved. This means that there will be plenty of possibilities to work quietly. Not everything is open, there will be plenty of rooms available which can be closed off.

  6. Where will the canteen be?

    The canteen will stay at its current location close to the entrance of the Rietveld building. It will be completely renovated, since the division of space in the kitchen has been in need of rethinking for some time. We have investigated whether the canteen could move to the current TxT department, connected to the outer space around the pavilion. The idea behind this is that the area around the pavilion could be made more lively. Considering the location of the other functions, the current location actually turned out to be the best option, the space being less suitable as educational space and working better to house a common function. The canteen will also be more easily recognisable and easier to find in its current place than in another location.

  7. Is attention being paid to sustainability and are we able to present this as a sustainable project?

    Absolutely. The designers have focused on the three most important aspects of sustainability for the new building: good air quality, a good indoor environment and low energy consumption. The decision was made to limit the amount of mechanical and electrical plant as far as possible. The less plant, the lower the energy consumption and the more natural the climate inside the building will be. The air conditioning system is dimensioned according to the current occupation of the building, supported by vents with CO2-control in the facade, to avoid unnecessary ventilation. The indoor temperature will be regulated by floor heating in winter, complemented in the basement and on the ground floor by limited heating of the ventilating air. For the new building passive cooling is used. This means that the indoor climate won’t be cooled mechanically during summer, but will be regulated by means of outlets in the facade and the roof. Sunlight penetration is controlled by an adaptable facade at the first floor and by recessing the facade at the ground floor. The whole building will be equipped with LED lights. Also, a considerable number of solar panels (PV-panels) will be placed on the roof (out of sight).

  8. When will the new building be ready?

    We’re planning to be finished mid 2017. That way we can start the academic year 2017/2018 in a new building. This is feasible as long as the project keeps to the current schedule.

  9. When will the construction process start and in which order?

    We make a distinction between the construction of the new building and the renovation of the existing buildings. The renovation of the existing buildings started last summer with the conversion of the former library and other rooms on the ground floor of the Benthem Crouwel building into the ceramics department. This was followed by the conversion of the first floor of the same building into staff offices. Subsequent steps will be planned phase by phase. During the summers of 2015 and 2016 renovations will continue. The concerning departments will be informed in good time. The construction of the new building should start in the beginning of 2016, according to schedule. At the end of 2015 the site for the new building will be marked out and other preparations for the construction will be carried out. The actual construction will start in January/February 2016. Heavy construction works are planned outside of teaching hours as much as possible to minimize possible disruptions.

  10. Has transport [of large objects] within the new building been taken into account in the design? For example, the height of the doors, the size of the elevator, the possible disruption that moving might cause?

    Transport is definitely part of the plan: it has been taken into account in the design and appropriate routes have been considered. With this in mind, as well as more general needs, the acoustics of the building have been studied. The reverberation times of the different rooms has been looked at and ways have been sought to minimize this (for example, through the use of acoustically absorbent materials on the walls and/or ceilings). The current situation in the Rietveld building has been taken as a reference, since users find it pleasant to teach and be taught in this building. The sensitive functions in the building, like the film studio, will be equipped with extra sound isolation. In other rooms sound will be separated in such a way you can hear something, but won’t be able to understand what is said. In short, it is a point of focus.

  11. Will there be an auditorium?

    Yes, there will be a ‘theory staircase’ where around a hundred people will be able to sit. For bigger events the gymnasium will still be available.

  12. Where will the area for waste disposal and sorting be?

    There will be a waste lane between the Rietveld building and the Benthem Crouwel building. Here it will be clear how you can dispose of waste and where you can pick up waste for recycling.

  13. Will there be more electrical and data sockets than in the main building?

    In the design phase a lot of attention was paid to data and electrical sockets. The amount of data and contact points in the new building will be more than enough. Besides, 400V power sockets will be supplied in the new building, from which more plug connections can be installed when certain activities require that, through floor covers and pulleys. A similar construction will be installed on the second and third floors of the Rietveld building , so that in times of higher demand (exhibitions) we can supply for everyone. In this way, we can stay flexible and at the same time be more sustainable. If you currently have problems with electricity supplies in the existing buildings, please get in touch with facility management: meldpuntfz@rietveldacademie.nl

  14. I'd like to know more about the scheduled moving; who moves when?

    The internal renovations and moves will be planned per phase and then communicated, as is explained in question no 9. VAV, DOG-time, the library and Public Rietveld have already moved into the TNT-building for example, and the ceramics department has moved to the ground floor of the Benthem Crouwel building. The next period in which departments are planned to move is the summer holiday of 2015. At this point it’s not clear yet which departments will be moving, but those involved will be consulted in good time.

  15. Do the problems finding a new chairman have consequences for the new building?

    For the time being, we expect a positive outcome, so this shouldn't influence the progress.

  16. Will the new building be shared with other institutes? To help cover costs, for example?

    No, but we did consider this in an earlier phase. There have been meetings with housing corporations, cultural institutions and our neighbors, but joining forces seemed neither realistic nor useful, since there was little to no financial benefit. Therefore we have decided to focus purely on our own use of the building. This gives us a lot of room to make a building that fits completely with the academy's wishes.

  17. Will it be more expensive for students to study here? Will the tuition fees increase?

    That is absolutely not the intention, and certainly not as a result of the new building. However, the government’s policy is that the costs for studying should be met to a greater extent by students, and to a lesser extent by the government. So there is a chance that tuition fees will increase slightly in the future. We are striving to stay accessible to everyone though; the academy wants to select students on merit, not on their financial means.

  18. Why doesn’t Rietveld stick with renting? Isn’t that cheaper and more flexible?

    Renting is more flexible, but not cheaper. For the buildings where we’re currently renting space we have managed to get an affordable rent on the basis of temporary anti-squat agreements. The downside of this arrangement is that the agreement can be annulled by the landlord at any time, and then we would have to find alternative space at short notice. Rents for these anti-squat spaces are comparable to the square meter costs of our own buildings. Besides, experience with renting various buildings over the last few years has shown that there are significant costs and a large amount of time involved to make a building ready for us to use it, but then it can only be used for a relatively short amount of time. We want to permanently solve the space shortage, in order to create more room for education and for the staff to spend less time on sorting out the building. An important consideration is that the solution to this problem needs to be found in the vicinity of the academy. The Zuid-As is an A+ location and if we want to rent space over a longer period of time in this area, the prices are so high that constructing a building ourselves is the more economical option. And the good thing about building something ourselves is that we can make a building that exactly meets our needs.

  19. Why don’t we stay in the TNT-building?

    See the answer to question 18. Right now this option is still affordable, but the owner wants to redevelop the building, so the rent will increase significantly in the future. We’ve looked into this in detail, and constructing a new building turned out to be cheaper. In addition, a number of specific functions, like workshops and the assembly hall, cannot be realized in the TNT-building because of the disruption they can cause and the facilities they need, which means we would have to build anyway.

  20. Why is it worth us taking out a loan for the new building, if we could rent empty, existing buildings for the amount of the interest we would have to pay? Has there been a research into which option provides more space or are there other considerations that justify a new building?

    See answers to questions 18 and 19. The amount of interest we’ll be paying isn't so high that it could cover the rent of the necessary space near the academy. This is to do with the fact that we’ll be applying for a loan from the government. That gives us the lowest possible interest rate, with the additional caveat that interest rates are currently very low. Through the construction of new property, our situation will be more favorable in the long run, since our overheads related to accommodation can decrease over time.

  21. Where will the money come from? Will it be at the expense of education?

    It is absolutely not the intention that the new building will be constructed at the expense of teaching and education. On the contrary: the new building should help improve teaching and education (Also see the answer to question 22 below). The costs for the new building will be covered from three main sources: 1 – Part of the cost will be paid out of money saved by the academy in the past years; 2 – Part of the cost will be paid from money that is now used to pay rent for external, temporary buildings; 3 – Part of the cost will be paid out of extra money in our budgets, without touching the budget which covers time for teaching. (Also see the answer to question 22 below)

  22. Can’t the wages be raised instead?

    The level of wages is set by a collective bargaining agreement for higher education. An educational institution can’t independently decide to raise them, so this is out of the question. Of course we can decide how to spend our money. It's about setting a balance between teachers and other staff, material expenses, additional activities that support education and facilities. The number of contact hours for our students is far higher than at other institutions for higher professional education and we think it is essential to keep it that way. However, for students at an art academy, the facilities are also important: good teaching spaces and good workshops are valuable for learning. Additionally we think that increasing the opportunities for students to meet each others and exchange ideas in spaces that are designed specifically for that purpose, will improve the quality of the education on offer.

  23. ‘Moving internally’, what does that actually mean?

    By this we mean moving within the existing buildings. The building project doesn’t only comprise the construction of a new building, but also adjustments to the existing buildings. Together with the teaching departments, workshops and staff departments, we’ve made a plan to redistribute the different parts of the organisation within the buildings. We want to make sure each department will settle in a part of the building that best suits their needs. There will be both temporary and permanent internal moves. Temporary movings are necessary to make the plan work. With a permanent move, a part of the plan is completed. An example of a permanent move is the relocation of the ceramics department from its old location to the ground floor of the Benthem Crouwel building.

  24. Remark: ‘Do It Yourself’ is an odd name considering the amount of processes that have benefitted from sharing and exchanging ideas and research.

    DIY (the part where people from the academy could give feedback on issues concerning the design of the new building) was set up to stimulate participation. Our goal is to carry out a collective project together with the Rietveld community and to produce results in dialogue wíth the Academy’s community. That’s also why, at an earlier stage, we looked for a design team from within the community. We think this question is based on a misunderstanding originating from a misinterpretation of the term ‘you’; we consider ‘you’ as plural, not individual. We could have chosen ‘Do it with us’, but that term is less familiar and doesn’t resonate as strongly as DIY.

  25. Could we make the bicycle parking shortage part of DIY?

    That’s surely a good idea. In the mean time we have found a solution with three locations for bicycle parking:

    1 - On the street side of the B&C building;

    2 – Next to the Loyens Loeff building in the half-sunken passage;

    3 - Between the B&C building and the low part of the Rietveld building. The cycle racks at this location will eventually be transferred to a new passage next to the academy where the schoolyard of the British School is now.

    These locations will leave as much outdoor space as possible available for other activities. You’re very welcome to contribute any ideas about the definite location and design of the bicycle sheds. To participate send an email to FedLev: diy@fedlev.nl

  26. Idea: How about communicating updates on the construction process and the internal moving?

    Several newsletters have been published about the project. These provide updates, so keep an eye out for them. A hard copy is on the billboard on the square, across from the steps in front of the Rietveld building. It is also sent out by email. If you haven’t received the newsletter but would like to, then send your email address to huisvesting@rietveldacademie.nl and you will be added to the mailing list.

  27. How much will all this cost?

    The entire project has an estimated budget of almost 13 million euros. This budget covers the construction of the new building, the renovation of the existing buildings, fitting out the new building (as much as possible will be recycled), landscaping works and costs involved in that, such as advice given by architects and technicians.

Part 13 April 2014

  1. Can this entire project be financed without affecting teacher hours, etc., or do you want to cut down on education in order to realize the project?

    The idea is to keep the same ratio between student and teacher hours and to make sure that the quality of the education remains as it is. We are still looking into the details of the financial developments in the next years, but the educational quality is the main goal of the academy. So it wouldn’t be acceptable to cut down on the hours of staff or teachers to make this building possible.

  2. How are the changes affecting the square meters student ratio in relation to how it is now?

    For the spaces that are assigned to the educational departments the ratio remains similar to the current situation in most cases. In the new situation we realize more common space, a number of new workshop places and workshop-related spaces. One of the main elements of the educational vision is that the Rietveld Academy is an academy of making work, not just thinking about work. So we create a lot of space for making this work, like the project spaces and the assembly hall, which is an extension of the wood workshop. In the total amount of square meters we are remaining about the same as we are now, our extra space in the Vetterstraat and now the TNT building included. But it will be more efficient and better because it’s all together and anyone can meet and interact.

  3. If you build a new building, there will be a need for more people to manage that building, how will you deal with the budget of that?

    At the moment we are making use of several external locations, such as the Vetterstraat & KBF. We have a concierge who is most of the time working at the Vetterstraat to manage that building and he is also responsible for looking after the other locations. When the new building is realized, the use of the external locations will be ended. This concierge will then be available to manage the new building. We also pay rent and service costs for those buildings to be retained. These costs will change into costs for the new building. For the people working in the supporting staff the new situations should not lead to more work because the whole academy is located together in one place. Therefore there will be no extra budget needed for managing the new building. We also aim to make the new building energy-efficient, so that the smallest amount of installations is necessary. Our goal is to use the same amount of energy in the total of the three new buildings, as we do now with the two buildings that we have.

  4. Is there a plan of where you can stall all the bikes?

    There is a plan, but it is a challenging subject. There will be space for bikes in the front (streetside), and in the back of the Benthem Crouwel building and bikes can also be parked in a double bike rack in the lowered strip on the west side (next to the new building and the gym). In the future, a small road is planned on the location where now the British school is, which is not meant for cars but just for bikes. The British school is planning to move in three or four years, and then we have the intention to move (part of) the bike parking there. Below the new building ten cars can be parked. This equals the amount of parking places we need.

  5. In the new plan, the sound studio is located on the fifth floor of the Benthem Crouwel building. We are now on the second floor and we have a lot of problems with the noise we make and produce there, and we even want to produce more noise.

    We know you want to make a lot of noise so we anticipated on it. There will be a box-in-box construction made on this location, which will make sure noise will not be transferred to the surrounding.

  6. As I far as I hear from it now the plans are dealing a lot with symbolic collectivity, symbolic interaction, symbolic exchange of ideas, and I wonder how this will be implemented educationally.

    That is up to the educational departments, we don’t have a central educational management at school.

  7. There’s no vision?

    The vision is that there is room for the educational departments to determine their educational vision, so we are discussing with them what their spatial requirements are and we are also discussing with them what their idea for the future of the academy is. Most of this comes down to the importance to work, meet and interact within the academy, so that is what we are facilitating with all these common areas that can be used by all the students.

  8. If this is a building for collectivity and students, then how do you explain that there are almost no students and teachers present today?

    We have tried really hard to get them here, so this is more a question for the students and the teachers themselves. We have done everything we could to invite them.

  9. The new building has a lot of glass, few walls, there’s an open space from the assembly hall to the roof, a tube for light etc., and I wonder how you will deal with the noise of e.g. the wood workshop.

    This has our attention. We developed our own acoustic standards, based on what is satisfying in the current situation. So what we did in the beginning was to measure the acoustic quality in the Benthem Crouwel building and also in some places of the Rietveld building, all places where people said the quality was okay. These measurements determine the quality standard for the new building.

  10. But now the wood workshop is not in the neighborhood of the library, in the new building it is.

    Also in the new situation they are not directly linked. However, there are some places where the acoustics advisor would prefer to replace functions, but only from the view of optimal acoustics. What we’re now aiming for is optimizing the acoustic conditions in relation to the lay out of functions.

  11. Wouldn’t it be great if the canteen would be in the patio, where TXT is now? It’s the patio where you meet and we have this lovely room for expositions.

    Yes it was definitely considered. But the place is simply not large enough to get the canteen there. What we are planning is to make a connection between the canteen and the (smoking)platform and then also a direct connection to the glass pavilion and outside area around, so the continuation of the movement is much easier. But, if further study would show that it is possible after all, it could be reconsidered.

  12. The main interest in having project spaces is also concerning visibility, especially when you’re around in the Academy, that you can easily see different projects going on. In your plans there are some project spaces visible (new building, loge, pavilion). How about the project spaces that seem more connected to the departments but less to the public area?

    There’s a differentiation in project spaces, none of them is similar to the other, so you can pick one that suits your activities at that time. We know there are a lot of activities taking place that want to be made visible, but we also know that students want places that can be closed and are more private. So we have created different types of project spaces. The one on the first floor of the New Building is very visible from the outside space, or can be visible because the façade of the new building can be easily opened and closed. But we’re also thinking of how the project spaces can be booked and used, we think about a way to increase the use of the outside space and the common space like the hallways, also for presentation of work, because we liked it how it was at the end of the DIY-week, to have more of a feeling about what is happening in the building and the terrain when you’re walking around.

  13. I want to know if there’s any hang out space outside for non-smokers, beside the stairs.

    At this moment the platform is where a lot of people hang out, but because of the roof the smoke stays there. This can be annoying. In the future the platform will be enlarged with the roof of the connecting and lowered new building. This area is an open space (where now the garden and the bikes are located). Also the rooftop of the New Building, and the area around the glass pavilion will be connected to the other areas. We assume there will be more places where non smokers can sit and meet.