Designing buildings in a heterogeneous urban environment: The university cluster at Roeterseiland in Amsterdam

  • Roberto Cavallo TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


Over the next few years, the University of Amsterdam is going to invest more in its buildings. The work will focus on the university’s four major clusters: the Science Park in Watergraafsmeer, the AMC hospital in southeast Amsterdam and the innercity sites Binnengasthuisterrein and Roeterseiland. The latter cluster will undergo particularly substantial changes. The students and staff of three faculties – Law, Economics and Business, and Social and Behavioural Sciences – are to be housed here in the near future. Apart from the necessary modernisation of the existing premises, the university’s plans raise interesting design issues. One important aim is to give the Roeterseiland site a new lease of life. The redesign of its public spaces, which will include general facilities and student flats, should help turn the site into an attractive feature of the city.

This assignment has geven give Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture, and its Hybrid Buildings master’s programme in particular, a stimulating basis for a graduation workshop. The subject was in keeping with the general theme of the programme, in which the focus of both teaching and research was on current transformations of the city.

This purpose of this article is to provide a picture of the work produced by the Hybrid Buildings workshop2 on the redevelopment of the Roeterseiland university cluster in Amsterdam. After an introductory section on the history of the university site there, I will discuss the role of the university in the emergence of the present situation, followed by the design issues that were the starting point for the project. The article will conclude with a presentation of four individual graduation projects.

How to Cite
CAVALLO, Roberto. Designing buildings in a heterogeneous urban environment: The university cluster at Roeterseiland in Amsterdam. OverHolland, [S.l.], p. 219-255, feb. 2017. ISSN 1574-3160. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 16 july 2020. doi: