Thursday, February 12, 2015

Belgium and The Netherlands 2015 Field Trip

The 2015 field trip to The Netherlands (and Belgium) and once again, the second year undergraduate and postgraduate students in construction* joined together for most of the trip apart from one day when they split into separate groups.

*BSc Construction Project Management, BSc Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management, MSc Project Management in the Built Environment and MSc Construction Project Management.

The field trip is an active learning experience and is designed to give our students an understanding of development, planning and engineering practices in The Netherlands and Belgium. Site visits were 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.

Students were split into small groups and given a series of tasks to complete in a field trip workbook - part of the learning experience was the development of a group strategy to ensure that the maximum amount of information on each site was obtained and recorded. The field trip leaders had also provided some excellent background information for the students to make use of before and after the trip. The students were also given a few useful Dutch phrases.

This year, the report takes the form of a series of images provided by Esra Kurul and George Blumberg. Comments and links are given below each photo.

Arriving in Calais on 25 January 2015

First stop: Antwerp. To visit the Law Courts which were designed by Richard Rogers - note the distinctive roof...

Still in Antwerp - this time a visit to Central Station. An early  20th century railway terminus which has been redeveloped to meet the demands of the 21st century, whilst retaining the beauty of the original structure.
The redevelopment was awarded a prize for conservation in 2011... 

Last stop in Antwerp: a visit to the car park at Central Station.
Take a look at the project on the Willemen Group website.

In transit. Next stop: Amsterdam. And a group meal before settling down for the night at the Hotel Poet.

The next morning (26 January) and a visit to the development at Amsterdam Central Station which included a guided tour and a presentation on Amsterdam and Almere... stop: Almere. Now a city of over 100,000 inhabitants, it has existed less than two decades. The city has demonstrated enormous potential and vitality and has shown a commitment to architectural innovation and experimentation.
Almere continues to develop...

And plans ahead by installing street signs long before the street.

Tuesday 27 January and a visit to Rotterdam. The students get a tour of the RDM campus...

The beginnings of a green wall at RDM campus. Find out more about the work at RDM here.

A boat trip to the Erasmus Bridge was followed by a walking tour of Rotterdam.

And the day finished with a trip to the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier.

On the morning of Wednesday 28 January the MSc students took a trip to Rotterdam to visit the HQ of Durra Vermeer one of the largest main contractors in the Netherlands. This is their brain-storming wall. The whole office has a 15 minute standing meeting every Monday morning by the wall to talk about new ways of doing their work. The fact that meetings are held standing up ensures they are lively and focused. 

In the afternoon the MSc group visited the building site at the Faculty of Natural and Biological Sciences at Leiden. They saw how the building was being constructed to minimise movement for the sensitive lab equipment that would be housed there. They were also shown a project which demonstrated the application of the principles of lean construction

...meanwhile the BSc students spent the day in Amsterdam taking in a number of museums and other selected sites. Guide by George Blumberg.

The final day and MSc and BSc students joined together again for a trip to Utrecht for a presentation and guided tour. Utrecht is (according to the website): the beating heart of the Netherlands. A city with an unparalleled vitality. A medieval city centre small enough to explore on foot. Large enough to enjoy world class festivals, modern architecture, trendy shops and interesting museums for days on end. Utrecht has a wealth of culture and history. Utrecht bustles with life. 70.000 students. An extensive number of cultural events. Friendly outdoor caf├ęs and restaurants. Hospitable hotels. Utrecht has it all.

And back to Oxford Brookes. ETA: 22.00.

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