11 September 2018

Renovation new UCV building begins

On 12 September, the official renovation of the former Raad van Arbeid (Labour Council) building will start in the city centre of Venlo. Maastricht University is expected to relocate to this historic building on Nassaustraat in 2019, which will house the University College and two master's programmes. The building will also accommodate 28 student studios.

The challenge
The biggest challenge in the design and repurposing of this historic and iconic building is to maintain the original 1950s character while meeting the requirements of a twenty-first century educational facility. Ruud van Heugten, director of Campus Vastgoed Venlo: “We have quite a bit of experience transforming unique buildings like this. We converted Villa Flora from an exhibition greenhouse during the Floriade into a campus building for Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo. And we will soon create a bright new future for the Raad van Arbeid building.”

Preserving characteristic features
The characteristic features will be preserved as much as possible, such as the original tiles and natural stone walls, the steel window frames and doors, and the stained glass windows. In addition, a modern lecture hall will be created with 100 seats for students and staff. The area behind the building will be lowered to allow daylight to reach the basement, giving the facade of the rear extension a completely different look. The front facade of the main building will retain its characteristic features, such as the steel window frames, the masonry, the prefab concrete frames and the stairs.

Nick Bos, vice president of Maastricht University: “The Maastricht University campus in Venlo offers innovative and international research and education in the field of healthy nutrition and logistics. We need a new building in order to further develop our educational activities in an attractive environment. Together with our business and government partners, we are offering an inspirational place to facilitate the development of our students.”

Erwin Boom, member of the Venlo municipal executive: “Venlo is gaining more impetus as a student city. Not only due to an increase in academic programmes, but also due to the creation of new student facilities. Due in part to the unanimous support of the Venlo City Council, we can now get started on the old Raad van Arbeid building.” Thanks to the excellent collaboration with the Province of Limburg and Maastricht University, the renovated building located on an ideal site will be a huge asset to all involved parties. It will also bring an end to the long-standing vacancy of an iconic building in the heart of the city.

Joost van den Akker, member of the provincial executive: “To me, the renovation of the former Raad van Arbeid building has two important elements. The first is that it preserves an iconic building while lending it a new academic function. The second is that, in using this building, UM is bringing the youth and vitality of students to the heart of Venlo.”