Why a new building?

The type of education offered at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Sandberg Instituut calls for accommodation that is high in quality and sufficiently spacious. Internal satisfaction surveys in the past have revealed that there is room for improvement in this regard. Items high on staff and students' wish lists include space to meet, greater transparency, the ability for activities to be visible, a specific look for each department, improved connections between the buildings and for the quality of the rooms to better fit their purpose and use. Over the years, more space has been created at a variety of temporary locations.

Why the new situation will be better

The reasons why the new building will be an improvement on the current situation can be summarised as follows:

  • Everything together in a single location

All teaching departments, workshops and staff departments will be in each other's immediate vicinity. This will make it relatively easy for people to find each other and offer equal access to all facilities. The Sandberg Instituut will have its own recognisable space within the cohesive whole.

  • Buildings specifically tailored to our needs

The new rooms will be fitted out specifically for the academy's needs. The rooms will have high ceilings, with flexible layouts and will be largely multi-purpose.

  • Improved visibility for students' work and opportunities for interaction and exchange

The design of the new building and the changes to the existing buildings will make it possible to get a better impression of what is happening throughout the academy. This improved visibility will also facilitate greater interaction and exchange between departments and between the Bachelor's and Master's programmes.

  • Most financially advantageous solution

Constructing a new building at the existing location, funded by a low-cost loan from central government, will result in accommodation that meets our needs and requirements at an affordable price. The fact that the academy will own the building, rather than hiring external space will also help strengthen our financial position.

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Project strategy

Preparations for the project commenced in 2011. First of all, the basic principles for the project were determined. Two important principles were to make maximum use of the skills and experience available within the academy and to allow scope for experimentation. It was therefore decided to launch an internal design competition called Gerrit & Willem Do-It-Yourself, in which teams of students, lecturers and alumni had the opportunity to submit a design proposal. The winning design was chosen at the start of 2012. Also in 2012, the schedule of requirements was drawn up in consultation with the academy. In 2013, the project team was further professionalised when the internal design team entered into a partnership with an architectural firm. A construction management agency was also selected and the decision made to apply a ‘traditional’ project organisation model.

Academy fully involved

The academy had voted for its preferred design and design team. The schedule of requirements was then personally agreed with representatives of each division. Subsequently, the layout of the buildings was agreed based on the ideas put forward by the teaching departments. The details of the plans were also agreed in close collaboration with the users of each section of the building.

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Alternatives considered

Alternatives to constructing a new building at the existing location were all carefully considered, but none proved to be feasible. The options investigated were:

  • leasing or purchasing the necessary additional space in another existing building, preferably in the immediate vicinity of the Rietveld building;

  • bringing all of the academy's divisions together in another building.

The latter option was investigated in 2009–2010 when a move to the former GAK building was under consideration. However, this building did not meet the academy's requirements. It has also become very clear that the whole academy community expressly prefers to remain in the Rietveld building. The first option also proved unsuitable for various reasons. In many cases, the use designated by the buildings' owners made them unsuitable for (art) education-related uses. The Zuidas location is expensive and the rental costs in surrounding office buildings are high. Alternative sites that could have been affordable were either too far from the current location or had to be leased via an anti-squatting contract. The temporary nature of such contracts gives rise to a lot of uncertainty, additional work and costs. The specific spatial needs of the academy were the final difficulty. The wood workshop, assembly hall, recording studio and auditorium would, for example, be difficult or impossible to set up in a standard office building.

Financing

With regard to the finances of the new building project, a careful consideration was made. Multiple alternatives to resolve the lack of space of the academy were investigated. Multi-annual budgets and -balances were drawn up and studied. A comparison between the housing costs of the academy in the current situation and those in the future situation was composed. Naturally, the way of financing the project was well devised. The development of the financial position of the academy with realizing the project was captured as well. These analyses showed that the choice for realizing the new building is justified. Within the structure of the project, the development of the costs of the project is guarded.

If you would like to get further information, you can have a look into the file. The document detailing the financial case for the project can be consulted at the secretary's office. For an appointment, please e-mail: secretariaatcvb@rietveldacademie.nl

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