Text description provided by the architects. The Erasmus University College, beautifully located at the Nieuwemarkt in the centre of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is now officially in use. The former municipal library from 1924 was designed by city architect D.B. Logemann, with Art Deco sculptures on the facades designed by J.P.H. van Lunteren and stained glass windows by J.W. Gidding. It is one of the few buildings which survived the Second World War bombardment of the city centre in 1940.
The restoration and transformation designed by Erick van Egeraat was developed according to the principles of the Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites. Erick van Egeraat reveals and restores the exceptional beauty of this building, with its generous decorations, coffered ceilings, wood paneling, natural stone elements, sculptures and stained glass which, for decades, had all been covered by gypsum board walls and dropped ceilings. In addition to restoration works, the architect added contemporary elements to make this a modern faculty which meets the design brief and current standards for university buildings.
In the center of the building there is an elegant atrium with glass walls and a glass roof, allowing an abundance of natural light to enter into the building. In the atrium two glass elevators connect all five floors. On the third floor the offices of the faculty and staff are located. The functionalist structure of the former book depository could not be kept, but has been emphasized in the new design with a nuanced light design.
The Erasmus University College is a subtle transformation that allows this monument to be re-activated, and represents an outstanding asset to the Erasmus University and the city of Rotterdam. The Erasmus University College is an educational building that fits in a long line of both redevelopment and transformation projects designed by Erick van Egeraat. Other education buildings nearing completion are the Paulinum Building for the Leipzig University in Germany and the Sberbank Corporate University just outside Moscow, Russia.