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The renovation of Cluster Zuid can begin: a new chapter for the Humanities Campus

The start of the renovation of Cluster Zuid was a long time coming, but the moment has finally arrived. On Wednesday 8 June, Dean Mark Rutgers, accompanied by the contractor Constructif, symbolically marked the start of the demolition and reconstruction works by demolishing part of the roof.

Once the roof and the middle building have been demolished, construction is expected to get underway before the summer. We caught up with Peter Geijsen, Constructiv’s foreman, to talk about the next phases of the construction project. 

The Van Eijkhof and Van Wijkplaats buildings were empty and ready for renovation to begin back in August 2021, but a protected species of bats nesting in the cavity walls threw a spanner in the works. Following several attempts to entice the bats to leave, the major construction project can now finally get underway.

Mark Rutgers, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, comments: ‘I’m thrilled that work can finally start on developing Cluster Zuid. I was a student here myself forty years ago. It’s fantastic to see that we are taking another step forward in the development of the Humanities Campus. I have no doubt that we will deliver a beautiful and sustainable building, where lecturers, researchers and students will be able to work and study in a pleasant environment. I wish the builders the best of luck with the construction!’

Demolition and construction

Around 30 people are currently working on the building site. Peter Geijsen, foreman at Constructif, is on site every day from 6.15 a.m. He gave us an update on progress so far: ‘We’ve nearly finished removing the asbestos. The next step is to dismantle the roofs and roof structures. That’s a challenging job, mainly because of the limited work space; this building site is smaller than we are used to. The unique thing about the whole project is that the current form of the building has to remain largely intact.’

The construction phase will kick off at the beginning of July, although demolition and construction work will continue in parallel. Peter: ‘In July, we will start laying new floors in the building on the corner of Maliebaan and Groenhovenstraat, but we will also be busy demolishing the middle building. As we progress, more and more people will be on the building site, and at peak times we may even have 100 to 125 people on site.’

Peter is looking forward to many highlights throughout this long renovation project, but he is particularly excited about the phase that will follow once the concrete work has been completed. ‘It will be fantastic to install the atrium glass roof at the highest point. And once that is in place and the building is watertight, we can start on the finishing touches,’ he says. The new building is scheduled to open in 2024.

Curious to find out what the building will look like, who will work there and what kind of facilities there will be? Take a look here.

Humanities Campus

Cluster Zuid is being renovated to provide modern and sustainable accommodation for the growing Faculty of Humanities. The renovation of Cluster Zuid is the third project – after the P.J. Veth building and the Arsenaal – in the redevelopment of the Humanities Campus. The new building will also be laid out according to the university’s workplace norm. In consultation with the institute, a process will be initiated to create an attractive and pleasant working environment for employees.

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