Organisation - January 29, 2010

Orion to get intelligent lifts

The new university building Orion will almost certainly be equipped with so-called intelligent elevators which will shorten the waiting time tremendously.

Orion at night, viewed from the Forum. The main entrance is at front left. The right angle of the pentagon points in a south-westerly direction. Atlas is in the background.
Such an elevator system is currently installed in only a few places in the Netherlands. Its core is a self-learning computer programme which constantly links the transport needs of all users on all the floors. It then calculates and matches users to lifts to get the best combination. This was clearly demonstrated on Wednesday at the presentation of the final design of Orion.
Fast trains
Outwardly, what distinguishes such lifts most from usual lifts is the location of the panel with buttons on the outside of the lift. The commuter indicates his presence and is directed by the computer to one of the available lifts. Once inside the lift, there is no way back. The computer then takes over. According to a spokesperson from Valstar Simonis, the consultancy agency responsible for the installation technique in Orion, the process works as if the lifts are constantly being assigned as fast trains and stop trains. 'Someone heading for the eighth floor shouldn't have to stop at every floor. Otherwise, much time will be wasted.' The new system will reduce the waiting time by forty percent.
Glass facade
For daily trips to lecture theatres, students are generally asked to take the stairs. In Orion, the eye-catching feature is its lecture theatres, which hang in an UFO-like manner between the ground and the third floors. The main features of these theatres are more or less the same as that in the earlier design. Orion is shaped like a pentagon. What's new is in the details. The back of the large lecture theatre is a wall of glass with, on the outer side, a corridor gallery which looks down on the ground floor, with its canteen, the café and the indoor terrace.
A striking feature on the outside of the building is the material of the facade. Orion will have a dark tinted glass facade, although the exact colour has yet to be decided. On the artist's impression of architect firm Ector Hoogstad, Orion is visible at night. The print shows off the windows at their best. A decision will be made concerning the proposed design in a few weeks' time. The ground-breaking is planned to take place this year.

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