O|2 Lab Building


O|2 stands for oxygen and is therefore a symbol of life. The O|2 Lab Building is located next to the Faculty of Dentistry’s ACTA building on De Boelelaan. 

The O|2 Lab Building is one of the first university buildings in the Netherlands built to accommodate a specific research theme. In the O|2 Lab Building researchers from VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC - location VUmc jointly tackle socially relevant issues in the field of Human Health & Life Sciences in a state-of-the-art shared research environment. This will result in a mix of fundamental and applied scientific-medical research conducted by chemists, molecular biologists, analysts, biophysicists and bioinformaticians from the university and preclinical researchers from VUmc.

Interfaculty collaboration and meetings
In total the building accommodate approximately 700-750 employees (based on FTE). Creating shared space for comparable research generates opportunities to strengthen the research profile and to improve research infrastructure. Cooperation will be fostered by sharing high-end research equipment and the shared use of service labs. The collective use of high-quality research facilities enables and encourages the efficient use of costly research facilities AND knowledge sharing and collaboration.

For example, the building will bring together a large number of biochemical labs and synthesis labs, a radionuclide lab and an ML-III lab (this means it’s a place where you can work with organisms that cause non-fatal diseases) all under one roof. Part of the building is intended as Lab Hotel ([email protected]): a place where partners or commercial parties for example can rent the use of office and laboratory facilities for a specific time.

The building will also contain teaching laboratories where students can experience what it’s like to work as a researcher.

The new building has been designed to be as sustainable as possible. It will feature ‘future-proof’ laboratories with a high degree of flexibility - the ultimate tool for medical research. Cooling is achieved using water from the nearby Nieuwe Meer lake and other energy needs are met by VU Amsterdam/VUmc Energy Centre. O|2 has a sedum green roof, which absorbs water and provides insulation. The building’s structure lets in plenty of daylight, saving on the cost of artificial lighting.

Design and lay-out
The O|2 Lab Building was designed by EGM architects. The floor space will be about 33,000 square metres. The building is shaped like a large cube, with two cut-outs that provide light. Striking angled columns – steel pipes of between 18 and 20 metres in length – support the construction of the cut-out sections. An atrium at the heart of O|2 channels daylight into all areas of the building. The ground floor will function as an urban plaza with restaurants, an information centre, a conference hall, meeting rooms and a bicycle parking area. A parking garage has already been constructed beneath the building.