The Laplace building. Photo | Klaas Vermaas

Remodeled Laplace building should provide breathing space

Once remodeled, in three years' time, the Laplace building should resolve the looming shortage of rooms used for education. The number of students at TU/e will continue to grow in the coming years, despite the increasing number of programs with a ceiling on student intake. Expectations are that in 2023 some fourteen thousand students will be on campus.

photo Klaas Vermaas

It had long been proposed that as soon as the Department of Industrial Design swapped the Laplace building for Atlas at the beginning of 2019, TU/e would depose of Laplace. The TU/e administration is aiming to concentrate all the departments and TU/e services around the Green Strip and until recently the Laplace building, in the distant past home to the Computing Center, had no place in these plans.

But with the growing student influx, these plans have changed. The building will be remodeled within three years, making it again fit for use for the coming 25 to 30 years, says project leader Hans Huver of Real Estate Management. Both floors will be taken in hand, as well as the two amphitheaters in the basement, where a cycle shed will also be constructed.

Huver tells that after the summer vacation in 2019 a start will be made on the asbestos removal and that at present it is not yet clear how much time this will take. “That depends on how much asbestos we find and how the building contractor decides to deal with it,” says Huver.

Wish list

At present the search is underway for a project architect, whose work will include fulfilling a detailed wish list. For example, the building must gain exam seating for at least 350 students and two amphitheaters, each capable of accommodating some 70 to 75 people. In addition, there must be at least eight theaters, each holding 50 people, although preferably there would be 12 to 16 theaters of this kind. There is also a need for smaller group spaces: some 20 to 25 spaces for 5 to 6 persons or for 10 to 12 persons. On the ground floor and on the first floor, the architect will be asked to create a ‘study landscape’. Before long, once the renovation is complete, the building should provide space for some 1,800 students.

Huver expects the renovation to take some 18 months once the asbestos has been removed. “After the summer vacation in 2021, it should be ready for use,” says the project leader. Regarding the cost of all this, he is making no statements. The document that annouced the remodelling and that was recently discussed in the University Council meeting mentions only that a ‘task-setting budget has been made available'. In addition, a reserve has been set up to provide for a likely rise in the construction costs.

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