Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Field Trip to Belgium and the Netherlands: Day 4 and Day 5

Day 4 of the field trip focused on Utrecht and Day 5 on Breda (previous blog posts: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3).

In Utrecht...
City Hall for a presentation on Stationsgebied CU2030
A guided walking tour of recently completed projects in the city
JHK Architecten Office for a presentation on BIM in the Netherlands

And in Breda...
Crossmark Breda for a presentation followed by a guided tour by Breda Promotions

The student report on Day 4 - the morning in Utrecht by Sisilia Hermawati, Elian Pony, Rithika Ramachandran, Evangelia Vasilaki and Christopher White...

Utrecht City Centre Tour
The postgraduate group was treated to a presentation at The Utrecht City Office, followed by a tour of the said office, Utrecht Centraal Station and Hoog Catharijne Mall.


The presentation on Utrecht highlighted the evolution and nature of the city, and how the authorities plan to marry these factors with the continuous development of the city. Utrecht was described as a growing city with a population increase of approximately 74% (190,000 to 330,000) between the 1950s and present. It is also expected to grow towards 400,000 inhabitants in the next 10 years. Additionally, Utrecht being located almost at the center of the Netherlands, serves over 285,000 commuters daily, connecting the majority of the cities of the country. Another important fact about Utrecht is it being the second largest bicycle user city in the world. That is, 50% of the population. Twice the average of 25% of the Netherlands.

The city is defined by two main areas, the City Centre and Old Town. These areas combined form the character of the city. The City Centre houses the Utrecht Centraal Station, City Office, Hoog Catharijne Mall and several other contemporary/modern commercial buildings. The Old Town with its older buildings and canals, in contrast, maintains traditional architecture with little allowance for vehicular traffic. Given these factors, the city focuses on the commercial development and the centralization of government in the City Centre, maintaining the historical architecture/nature of the Old Town, and residential development along the outskirts of the city.

A two phased project named the Development Program Station Area was detailed during the presentation. The first phase is called ‘Connect-Restore-Give Meaning’, and the second, ‘Healthy Urban Living’. It includes more than thirty developments planned for the city over the next 10 years. Also, projects such as Wonderwoods, a proposed residential apartment development with an integrated vertical forest, will help to give an environmental friendly character in the city.

Utrecht city model

Three projects were highlighted including the Utrecht Centraal Station, the City Office, and the restoration 2km of a canal within the city. All three projects were integrated. The canal was previously covered by the construction of a motorway in the heart of the city to serve transportation needs. This was later decided against during the motorway’s construction. It was mentioned that a partnership was formed with the developers, the city hall and the mall owner. The process was not easy, but all parties worked together and compromised to see the projects through.

Utrecht City Office outside...

...and inside

The City Office which hosted our presentation is open to the public. It provides access for everyone to use the facilities, such as the library. The City Office was built and linked to the Centraal Station in line with ambitions to have a more centralized government.

The Utrecht Centraal serves as a transportation hub. It houses bus stations, tram stops, the central railway as well as two bicycle parks. The main train station has been renovated to accommodate more passengers and make it more attractive given the high throughput of commuters. The station building itself is surrounded by a glass wall that provides a more open space feel, while maintaining the necessary division of spaces. The wave-shaped roof is designed as a way-finder. The waves flowing across the entrance and exit are brightening by LED lights at night and by the natural light during the day.

Utrecht Centraal outside...

...and inside.

The multi-storey bicycle park is the largest in the world. It accommodates an impressive 12,500 bicycles. This was done in an effort to effectively store the large volume of bicycles used throughout the city. The project showed innovation, harmonizing space and function. During the tour at the park, the easy flow and accessibility for bicycle users was highlighted, as there are several access points from the station plaza to the bicycle park.

The multi-storey bike park - inside...

...and outside.

The canal restoration is in progress with a section slated to pass under the Hoog Catharijne Mall. This impressive engineering feat was among several observed throughout the developing City Centre. The canal restoration will return a greener character to the dense City Centre. Generally, buildings in the City Centre were modern, open and bright, due to the utilization of glass walls, which maximizes natural light, and by extension, improves the experience commuters. In comparison, it was interesting to see the City Centre developing, while Old Town remained traditional as per the City’s effort to maintain its heritage. All the above seeks to create a vibrant city with modern infrastructure and facilities, with an appreciation of its architectural heritage and sufficient housing solutions for residents.

Hoog Catharijne Mall and Canal.

Utrecht old town

Lessons Learnt: it takes a lot of effort and compromise to develop/redevelop and renovate a city and places in general. Several disagreements among parties will occur during the process but compromise is necessary to produce a “win win” outcome. A balance must be struck between modernization, sustainability and preservation of heritage.

On Day 5 (the final day) the students visited Breda for a presentation about the city and a guided tour, before returning to Oxford.

To find out more about any of our postgraduate courses in construction, click on the following links:

MSc Building Information Modelling and Management
MSc Construction Project Management
MSc Infrastructure and Sustainable Development
MSc Project Management in the Built Environment
MSc Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management

Field Trip to Belgium and the Netherlands: Day 3

Day 3 of the field trip focused on Rotterdam (previous blog posts: Day 1 and Day 2).

The student report on the morning of Day 3:

9h30 - Van Nelle Factory – guided by Jorien Cousijn
The buildings were designed by Leendert van der Vlugt and built between 1925 and 1931. In the 20th century it was a factory, processing coffee, tea and tobacco and later on additional chewing gum, cigarettes, instant pudding and rice. The operation stopped in 1996. The factory closed because they moved to another place. In 2014 in became a UNESCO building.

After the renovation, in 2015, it was known as the Van Nelle Design Factory, and nowadays it is used by a wide variety of companies and a co-working space. There are also areas that can be rented as meeting, conventions and events rooms. It was nice to see that what we saw in the Heijmans presentation, about reinventing the building was applied here in a successful way.
The building shows a typical Bauhaus architecture style, which is from Germany during the same period of this building construction, and consists in geometric forms, flat roofs, modern material for the time (steel, glass and concrete), and simplified colours. This style was kept, and it still works for the new uses.

Van Nelle Factory – Ana Elisa Linardi, Nafees Mohammad, Dhouha Touibi, Aditi Jain, Jorien Cousija and Utkarsh Parshionikar

Centraal Station – guided by Jorien Cousijn
The current building started in 2007 and was concluded in 2014, nicknamed as aluminium foil lunch box, the central station is the centre of the city. It was designed to receive the high-speed trains, metro and trams. The station has an unique format made of glass, stainless steel and wood ceiling, it doesn’t look big from the outside, because of the high building on the surroundings, but from the inside it is massive, and wide open to receive all the public.

Rotterdam Centraal Station - Dhouha Touibi, Nafees Mohammad, Ana Elisa Linardi, Aditi Jain and Utkarsh Parshionikar

10h30 – Stadswandelingen – walking tour guided by Jorien Cousija
The second largest city in the Netherlands, it´s considered an industrial city, as it is the major logistic and economic centre and is the largest seaport in Europe. The city centre was completely destroyed in the World War III, a bomb had been destroyed it in 15 minutes, named as the Rotterdam Blitz . But as a result, the Dutch people wanted to demonstrate that everything was gone, but a better life was coming. Therefore, the city today counts with a varied architectural landscape, including nominated architects skyscrapers (not common on other Dutch cities), as Rem Koolhaas, Ben van Berkel, Foster + Partner and Renzo Piano. This area is called the “Manhattan at the Meuse”. This is such a really interesting view from the story of the city and the people that live there, unfortunately it was not possible to see this view on the day we were there, but for sure I want to see that one day.

Erasmus Bridge (Ben van Berkel), Toren op Zuid (Renzo Piano), De Rotterdam ( OMA – Rem Koolhaas), Montevideo (Mecanoo), World Port Center (Foster + Partners). This picture was taken from Google Street View.

10h45 – Zalmanhaventoren project – BAM meeting with Wouter Van der Zwan and Nadia
Future 3 towers building, one with 215 meters high residential building with 242 apartments and restaurants, and 2 others 70 meters high with 196 apartments and car parking. BAM is the responsible company for the construction, and there no wet concrete on the site, everything is prefabricated and then brought to the site according to the schedule. Every element is tagged with a QR code, that is scanned when gets to the site, this QR code inform where it should be discharged and where this element should be placed, it was possible to check from the outside of the site that it looks very organized and clean on the inside. It would be better if we could get to the site office to check the surroundings at least.

In order to increase the construction cycle, it was necessary to construct a lifting shed around the level under construction, with a crane to locate the prefabricated elements. In our point of view, this environment increases the quality, working conditions for the people involved, speed and safety, because it is a closed area which avoid any falling object.

Zalmanhaventoren project - Ana Elisa Linardi, Utkarsh Parshionikar, Dhouha Touibi, Nadia, Wouter Van der Zwan, Nafees Mohammad and Aditi Jain

11:00 – Museumpark and Boijmans Museum Archive Depot
This is the Museum Archive building, this explain a bit why the façade was designed without any window, but visiting this site a lot of questions started popping up, as why the façade is made of mirrors? Why so high? Why in this shape? So, as architects we felt like non-architects for a bit with a lot of questions in our mind, but in the end of the day all these questions got an answer with the presentation of the project by MRVDV.

Boijmans Museum Archive Depot

And the afternoon of Day 3 by: Dallamy Laith, Gray Alessandra, Ramashadran Rithika, Oliver Thomas and Vasilaki Evangelia...

Group photo at MVRDV offices: from R to L Thomas Oliver, Alessandra Gray, Laith Dallamy, Evangelia Vasilaki
and Rithika Ramashadran


The History:
The city of Rotterdam had been an established and prosperous seaport of the Netherlands since the medieval era. However, Nazi Germany invaded the country on 10th May 1940 but were met with unexpected fierce resistance from Dutch forces. As a result, Adolf Hitler ordered the bombing of Rotterdam on 14th May. Over one night the heart of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed. One of the few buildings to survive the bombing was the City Hall. 

Rotterdam was gradually rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s. It remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more 'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.

Rotterdam has become world famous because of its modern and ground-breaking architecture. Throughout the years the city has been nicknamed Manhattan at the Meuse and The architectural capital of the Netherlands both for its skyline and because it is home to internationally leading architectural firms involved in the design of famous buildings and bridges in other big cities. Examples include OMA (Rem Koolhaas), Neutelings & Riedijk and Erick van Egeraat. The city has 38 skyscrapers and 352 high-rises and has many skyscrapers planned or under construction. The top 5 of highest buildings in the Netherlands consists entirely of buildings in Rotterdam. It is home to the tallest building in the Netherlands, the Maastoren with a height of 165 meters. In 2021, the Zalmhaven Tower will be completed with a height of 215 meters, which will become the new tallest building in the Netherlands.

The Markthal

Walking around on a foggy afternoon in Rotterdam, it was a welcome change to step into the warmth Markthal had to offer, amidst different aromas of food and fresh produce. Set in the vicinity of Binnenrotte, Blaak Station, Markthal had been envisioned by MVRDV and Provast to break away from dingy traditional European market places, and also stay in line with European rule of The product was a quirky building, conforming to a semi-open plan which attempted to intergrated its surrounding, and be an anchor in the urban planning fabric of Rotterdam. The design includes an interesting take on visual and physical accessibility, all the while maintaining an interoperability of all its users. The architects touted Markthal as ‘a building without a backside’, having made accessible doors, windows for the entire supply of hall, shops and restaurants. The spaces are as such: a large indoor market square complete with an inviting mural on the inner facade, depicting fresh produce; apartments with 6 different elevator entrances for inhabitants; underground tunnel for the supply of goods to the stores; basement parking and an outer facade resembling that of a tennis racket, the largest of its kind, to showcase the inner dynamics of the market hall into its exterior surroundings. The shape of the building in terms of design was fitted to a very construction friendly outlook; it could easily accommodate the traditional elevator cores, and by adding the more spaces to the foot of the structure, the entire volume could have been raised to 120 m tall, 70 m wide, and 40 m high.

Interior mural facade

The building is anointed with a BREEAM very good certificate, having a regulated interior climate with natural ventilation. The space program of housing, shopping centres, and market hall make the installation technology of ventilation, heating and central exchanges very efficient. The central monitoring system of the building exchanges hear and cool exchange to reduce the number of installation monitoring. A panel stationed within the market garners awareness on the energy use and CO2 savings of the building. It also provides a gateway to keep its surrounding buildings cool, and consists of a sanitation system designed to save water. Additionally, all the tenants of the residential units subscribe to the Green Lease Agreement so that there is sustainable ambitions of the building is well regulated by all users.

The Cube Houses

The cube houses located centrally in Rotterdam are just a stone’s throw away from the famous Markthal and centrally located library and are an eye-catching architectural development. The bright yellow exterior of the 45 degree angle houses was without doubt one of the most unique and puzzling architectural developments we saw not only in Rotterdam but in the entirety of the Netherlands. 
Initially all puzzled at the feasibility and usability of such houses, by the experimental Dutch architect Piet Bloom, the 70’s built cubes slowly indicated their abstract representations the more we looked up at the urban canopy. The cube houses are known to represent a forest, with each house resembling a singular tree, although in this case an urban one. Containing 38 small cube houses and 2 ‘super’ cubes, the houses were created through the use of a tilted timber cube where one point is anchored in a hexagonal concrete core. Such structures have allowed for the representation of this core as a tree trunk, where the entrances and stairs to the houses are placed. Consisting of three floors, firstly containing a ‘street house’ floor, where a living room and kitchen are present. Above this, the second floor known as a ‘sky house’ where the two bedrooms and bathroom reside, and the ‘tree-top house’ at the apex. Having only just vertical walls in the core, every other wall in the houses are angular, with the most prominent being at the apex, where the cubic nature is most apparent. 

Ground view of the cube houses urban forest canopy

When walking amongst the ‘urban forest’ it was apparent the houses bring with them a sense of serenity and calm, although placed upon one of the busiest road routes in Rotterdam. Not only however, do the houses act as a natural walkway and bridge over this road, but they also connect the modernist Markethal architecture to the old harbour of Rotterdam, with many of the cubes overlooking this. Therefore, evoking in myself and other students, a sense of connection between old and new. Visiting the cube houses I believe was a big highlight in the trip to Rotterdam, seeing the conceptual visualisations of an architect put into practice. Which create, not only connections between different time periods, but also attempt to re-connect nature into urban spaces. To see the new uses of some the houses as museums and hostels, I found to be interesting, as it highlights the curiosity by the general public in these unique architectural buildings. Further promoting how architecture has the ability to attract varieties of people and influence modern lifestyles. 

MVRDV Visit 
Founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries, MVRDV is an architectural firm based in Rotterdam and are highly distinguishable all across the globe due to their urban structures.  The work carried out by MVRDV is not only exhibited across the world but is also held in high regard receiving numerous international awards along with being very published. With around 250 architects and designers serving as the brainchild for MVRDV, projects are carried out in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process that involves rigorous technical and creative investigation. MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors. The firm values the collaborative workspace that has been built up over the years and pride themselves on having the ‘uniquely creative’ workspace.  The undertaking of their design method involves clients, stakeholders, and experts from a wide range of fields from early on in the creative process. The results are exemplary, outspoken projects that enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

Boijmans Extension in context with the old building and existing plaza.

Het Depot Boijmans
One of the currently most famous MVRDV projects is the Het Depot Bojimans located in Rotterdam. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is the first art storage facility in the world that offers access to a museum’s complete collection. The Depot has a different dynamic to that of the museum: there are no exhibitions, but people will be able to browse amongst 151,000 artworks, alone or with a guide, and get behind-the-scenes glimpses of - among other things - conservation and restoration. 
A sight visit combined with a presentation at the company’s offices gave the students a clear understanding of the idea, purpose and the special features of this project. While the new building is located a previously park area, the main idea of its sustainable design was to reduce its volume and vision by minimizing the footprint and maximizing the roof. This result succeeds according to the rounded shape of the structure and the mirror effect that is given to it aiming the reflection of the surrounding park. The special reflecting effect of the park and city this building offer is given from 6,609 square meter mirror panels which originate from China. 

Reflective curved panel to project the Rotterdam Skyline on the building.

The building is made of concrete and it’s floor area is 15,000 m2. It has six floors and is 39.5 meters high,iIts footprint is 40 meters in diameter, which cantilevers out to a diameter of 60 meters. The ground floor consists of a welcoming entrance area with 6 meters height doors, with a coffee corner available to visitors. On this floor there are also areas for art handling: packaging, atmosphere conditioning, quarantine, loading and unloading. The upper storeys contain all repositories, exhibition spaces, the expertise centre and a cinema, located around the central atrium. The atrium gallery, with glass roof, is filled with works from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection. The storeys are connected by suspended staircases, which have something of the feel of the breathtaking sketches by the eighteenth-century Italian architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

Museum Boijmans - exterior view.

A panoramic roof terrace is going to be formed that will be accessible freely by every visitor who wants to enjoy the wonderful view of Rotterdam from above. 75 birch trees will be placed on the roof.  The full of green designed terrace will reinforce the sustainable character of this building, and give the idea of a continuous park lifted off the ground. All the above are forming a very unique structure, which will lead to a new cultural monument at Rotterdam. 

In conclusion, Rotterdam is a city that keeps evolving and surprises its visitors and habitants continuously with its innovative character. It will have much interest to follow the future plans of this city.    

Report on Day 4 and Day 5 will follow...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Field Trip to Belgium and the Netherlands: Day 2

Day 2 of the field trip focused on Amsterdam (for the blog post about Day 1 click here).

At the Breeze Hotel in Ijburg

And now, the write-up (from the students) of the presentation on approach and principles from Fluor Netherlands:

Overview of Flour - Fluor B.V. (Fluor Netherlands) has been operating in the Netherlands for more than 55 years, providing engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and project management services for Clients throughout Europe and around the world. 

In the Fluor Office

Fluor operates a comprehensive project execution plan incorporating; Engineering, procurement, fabrication and Maintenance. They operate on the ethos of transforming the world by building prosperity and empowering progress, with key emphasis on safety, value creation, collaborative working through advanced work package planning (AWP).

Productivity Challenge - Fluor acknowledges the challenge of productivity within the industry and achieves this by minimising project risks and gaining competitive edge by improved cost and schedule. Productivity on site was also incorporated into the collaborative planning process to minimise waste. The analysis on the percentage split of foreman’s time was excellent example of how a specific activity can be improved. e.g 30% travel, 20% planning and only 15% supervision. The AWP process gives them a 10% reduction in waste. 

Fluor Provides Project and Program Management Services incorporates collaborative working structures both from a system, processes planning and delivery perspective. On agreement of the project scope, the team sets out a plot plan and layout drawings including construction and work areas. The planning team through the pre-commissioning process put together the AWP packages, these include the CWA and CWP. This process incorporates a 12 weeks lag and then feeds in to primavera then to procurement. The systems use GPS tagging of materials in the warehouse for all the specific work packages. This provides full visibility and integrated planning. These is usually a temporary facility location where materials can be retrieved and delivered on to site. At critical times there is level 5 monitoring which is done by the hour. This process helps Fluor to improve productivity by 10%. 

Key highlight for me was the safety moment where the supervisor was helping to perform the job and he was not supervising. This was picked up as a safety moment. Lessons learned are: Know your role; Perform your job; Don’t fulfil someone else’s role. So, the ethos was not just to get the job done, but get the job done safely and go home to your families.

Gaining insight in to the AWP ethos of FLUOR - puzzle and lesson learnt
AWP is a method of designing and planning a construction project to improve performance. It is about making sure that the project is design and planned to be easier to build, commission and start up. We were put into groups to assemble a puzzle. On our first attempt, using the unmarked puzzle, the process was inefficient although we followed the same brief and we took longer to put it together. We also decided to communicate more trying to put the puzzle together and we noticed that we were working faster. We also could not understand why other people finished first, but eventually is transpired that they had defined work packages with marked puzzles.

We can infer that projects go wrong when people do not have defined tasks or do not know what to do and fall into argument. the first puzzle failed to take off due to not identifying performance based on team task and coordination. Which happens in real life project when there's lack of organization creates problems and delays.

On the second attempt we had a box with puzzle pieces in envelop numbered. The stages were broken down for us which means we knew where to start and we worked in a collaborative way we were communicating well, and everyone knew what they had to do. It took us less time to put it together and we were all happy of our achievement. I was impressed on how fast it went when we knew what we had to do and in what direction to go. I think this model should be more developed and used in construction projects.

Fluor Project also taught us how team performance can work well and effectively when projects are structured in stages. One thing the team gathered from visiting Fluor is how health and safety is important to them. We were shown a video before the presentation started. It is impressive as health and safety is really important in the work- place.

Site Visit - Gaasperdammertunnel
After our visit to Fluor office, we were taken to the Gaasperdammertunnel site which is one of the key projects in the Amsterdam currently. We were given a brief presentation on the past, present and future of one of the biggest tunnels in the Amsterdam that is GAASPERDAMMERTUNNEL.
The project is the collaboration between Ballast Nedam, Flour, Heijmans, and 3i. Gaasperdammerweg tunnel is the expansion of the A9 between the Holendrecht and Diemen junctions.

The presentation was organised by the Project Director Mr. Pieter Teeuw and Assistant Manager Mr. Ron Van Hooije. And the presentation started with the Safety Measures and introduction towards the Site Safety. The objective of this project is to Improve traffic flow and to reduce traffic congestion. The client for the project is Rijkswaterstaat and the project contract type is DBFM which is Design – Build – Finance – Maintain, with a value of USD 880 million, which will be awarded in Lump sum. The maintenance period will end after 25th June 2038. Some of the facts about the tunnel are: 2 x 5 lanes and 1 Tidal Lane; 3 km Land tunnel with a trace of 9 km; New Bridge over river Gaasp and Modification at Junction Holendrecht.

When it comes to the DBFM part, it is a joint venture of 4 Big companies such as FLUOR, 3I, Ballast Nedam & Heijmans and which will be financed by SPC (IXAS Zuid-Oost).

Project Goals
  • To improve the traffic congestion as the tunnel will have 5 lanes per driving direction and an exchange lane. It will make northern Randstad more accessible.
  • The 3 km tunnel will improve the air quality of the surrounding and will reduce sound.
  • To build a large park on the roof tunnel that will connect neighbourhoods in Amsterdam Southeast.
The Tunnel has 130 emergency doors, 117 Ventilator fans, 366 emergency post cabinets, 1800 Speakers, 80km cable lines, 1.125 km cables, 2800 lighting fittings in the corridors, 4300 light fittings and 6-meter fire extinguishing pipe. The idea of incorporating reflecting white asphalt will provide efficiency in electricity consumption and it is indeed one of the smart ideas incorporated in the project, notwithstanding the impact on the climate.

After the presentation, we had an opportunity to visit the tunnel site in a coach and we were able to see the tunnel exclusively before it was opened to public, months in advance. It was an excellent experience overall, seeing some new technologies adopted and the health and safety concerns in the Netherlands. The project also impetus to the environment and neighbours. In the Netherlands they built everything in a safe manner for the environment and energy efficiency. They also plan for future expansion which is very important these days.

Our special thanks to Oxford Brookes University and FLUOR for providing us with this opportunity to visit Netherlands.

Field Trip to Belgium and the Netherlands: Day 1

A group of postgraduate students from across the four MSc programmes in the School of the Built Environment went on a field trip to Belgium and the Netherlands at the end of January 2020. The aim of the field trip was to integrate knowledge gained in the early part of the students' programmes, to develop team skills and to build relationships. Site visits and walking tours are backed up with a series of presentations from local experts focusing on: planning strategy, sustainability and urban design considerations, the mix of dwelling types, retail and community buildings, infrastructure plans, planning for flooding/rising sea levels, and sustainable and innovative building technologies.

This year, the students have written the blog and also taken many of the photos. Thanks to Max Muncaster and the students for organising this and for your contributions! Click on the blue links for more information about the place visited.

The students (and staff) set off on 19 January and returned on 23 January. In between, they visited the following places:

In Antwerp...
The MAS Museum  - for a visit
Antwerp Port House designed by Zaha Hadid - for a photo opportunity
Antwerp Station - for a guided tour

In Amsterdam...
Ijburg - for a series of presentations about Ijburg and the design of the Breeze Hotel and also a tour of Ijburg and the floating homes
Fluor Office for a workshop and lunch
IXAS project for a presentation and visit to the tunnel
Walking tour of the city and a group meal

In Rotterdam...
Van Nelle Factory (a UNESCO world heritage site)
The tram stop at Willemsplein - for a guided walk of the city
The Zalmhaven Toren - to meet the BAM Logistics Manager (and find out more about the project)
Museumpark area to look at building projects: Boijmants Museum Archive Depot, Kunsthal and Nieuwe Institute
Markthal - for a walking tour which included the Cube Houses

In Utrecht...
City Hall for a presentation on Stationsgebied CU2030
A guided walking tour of recently completed projects in the city
JHK Architecten Office for a presentation on BIM in the Netherlands

And in Breda...
Crossmark Breda for a presentation followed by a guided tour by Breda Promotions

And now for the student contributions...

Outside the Museum aan de Stroom

Day 1: Antwerp by Pavan Rajashekar Murthy and Goculnath Vaithyam

The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS; Dutch for: Museum by the River) is a museum located along the river Scheldt in the Eilandje district of Antwerp, Belgium. It opened in May 2011 and is the largest museum in Antwerp. On our first day of our industrial visit we were taken to this museum and got to see this fantastic building which is a state-of-art building in the city of Antwerp. We were guided by Ms. Jorien Cousijn who is a Dutch local & a staff of TU Delft and over the next 5 days she helped us in guiding through the places of Netherlands.

In 1998 the Antwerp city council decided to build the museum at the Hanzestedenplaats. On 14 September 2006 the first brick of the building was laid. In 2010 museum objects arrived from various other museums like the Ethnographic Museum and the Maritime Museum, which both ceased to exist. The museum opened for the public on 17 May 2011. The 60-metre-high (200 ft) MAS was designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The façade is made of Indian red sandstone and curved glass panel construction. It is an example of postmodern Art Deco architecture. The MAS houses 470,000 objects, most of which are kept in storage. The first visitor's gallery is the "visible store", which contains 180,000 items. The building is located on the spot where the Hanzehuis used to stand. International merchants worked and resided at the Hanzehuis. In the nineteenth century a fire destroyed the building.

The central focus of the MAS is Antwerp and its connection to the world. The MAS collection ranges from maritime objects which document international trade and shipping, to the history, art and culture of the port city of Antwerp and to art and culture from Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania.

The MAS develops thematic exhibitions which connect local and global culture, art and history. The museum is committed to informing the public using new media and immersive presentations. The museum was internationally awarded for its MAS IN YOUNG HANDS initiative, which involves youngsters from very diverse backgrounds as event organizers and curators. I would like to thank Oxford Brookes University for organising the trip and I would like to thank Mr. Max Muncaster for guiding us on all the 5 days in Netherland and Ms. Jorien Cousijn for guiding us in the MAS.

The Port House in Antwerp

Days 2 and 3 will follow shortly...

Friday, October 18, 2019

Oxford City Tour 2019

As part of the module - Introduction to Design and Construction the first year students in construction went on the Oxford City Tour on 25 September 2019. The purpose of the tour was to familiarise the students with major buildings in the city of Oxford - many of which are studied during the first year of the BSc Construction Project Management and the BSc QS and Commercial Management. I followed the students around on the tour and took some photos (click on the blue links for more information on buildings)...

On the High Street where the task was to compare styles of buildings - this is The Queen's College

Looking down the High Street to University College

...and All Souls College

Back on the High Street heading towards...

St Mary's Church (and its tower) - Gothic or Classical?

Approaching Radcliffe Camera where the students were asked to work out the cost and logistics of repairing stone work

Found a few Harry Potter fans at the entrance to the Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library

Group shot inside the beautiful...

...Divinity School where the students learnt about stone fan vaulting

The Clarendon Building

The 'Emperor Heads' outside the Sheldonian Theatre

The Museum of Natural History - find out more about this building

And you can stroke the animals :)

As well as being full of amazing stuff - the building has an amazing roof. The students were there to learn about geology, use of stone, cast iron and steel and the glass roof

It's also home to the Pitt Rivers Museum

The Beecroft Building - which has the deepest basement in Oxford

Walking across to the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

The Blavatnik School of Government where the students found out about thermal performance of the building

It's not normally open to the public, but we had special permission to go inside...

Walking down through Walton Street in Jericho an area north of the City


The Ashmolean Museum

And onto Cornmarket. This is the oldest building which is a Tudor timber frame building...

...there is a major redevelopment taking place further up Cornmarket

Walking down Queen Street towards Westgate where there was lots to find out about how it was constructed

Westgate Shopping Centre - a major new development for Oxford

And that is the end of the tour. ust time for some people watching and lunch in Westgate. For more information about the undergraduate degree courses in construction take a look at our website.