The Anatomy Building stands with several former medical pavilions and a new tower with apartments in a park-like area. The whole breathes an atmosphere of history and future. From a research and laboratory function for the Faculty of Medicine, this area has been transformed into a dynamic, centrally located residential area for PhD students of Leiden University and the LUMC.
In the period 1914-1960 a research and laboratory complex was built for the Faculty of Medicine in Leiden of which the Anatomy Building was part. Architect J.A.W. Vrijman designed the laboratory as a soberly designed, functional, brick building with large windows that allowed optimal light to enter all the rooms. For many years the Anatomy Building served as a teaching and research building with a dissecting room, a lecture hall and laboratories. In 1955, the new wing was opened with exhibition space and a canteen. It also housed the Anatomical Museum. This museum is currently housed in the Educational Building of Leiden University Medical Center. (LUMC)
The Stichting Universitaire Woonwijk Boerhaave has given the Anatomy building a residential purpose. A new tower has been built next to the Anatomy Building on behalf of the Foundation, which also houses apartments.
In the Anatomy Building, the lecture halls and laboratories have been converted into varied apartments suitable for one- and two-person households and small families. Architect Fons Verheijen has inventively adapted the building to the present time so that it will have a new future as an apartment building. Yet the historic atmosphere remains tangible through the generous proportions of the building: high ceilings, wide corridors and not forgetting the beautiful staircase. On the outside, part of the facade has been modified with hard stone slabs, giving the building a lively, contemporary look.
The metamorphosis gives the Anatomy building renewed vitality and new life while preserving its monumental character.
Next to the Anatomy building a residential tower has been erected, designed by architect Dick van Gameren. Here 76 apartments have been realized. In appearance the tower fits very well with the Anatomy building: the design of the facades refers to the silhouette of the old building, the hardstone plinth continues from old to new and the closed areas of brickwork have the same color as the existing bricks. The new tower, together with a fence, closes off the U-shaped Anatomy building, creating a green court that connects both building sections.
Because of its height and immediately recognizable shape, the tower makes the new residential complex visible from afar.
The Anatomy building and the new tower stand in a garden designed by landscape architect Evelien de Meij. Between the building sections is a private courtyard. This courtyard is characterized by a baroque layout with a striking planting of yew hedges in the shape of a heart. The design of the garden on the side of the buildings is looser in tone. The grass contains oval-shaped plant sections with ornamental grasses and shrubs. There are coniferous trees between the sections; there are boulders and a work of art that can be used as a bench.
The residents of the Anatomy Building are PhD students from Leiden University and LUMC who live here during the period of their PhD. It is an international group of single and double households and small families.
In the garden next to the Anatomy Building is the artwork Everybody by Hester Oerlemans.
The design is based on the Anatomy Theatre from 1591. At that time, anatomical demonstrations were given in public. Not only professors and students were present, but also ordinary citizens. Skeletons were also set up in the Anatomical Theater as demonstration models. The beginning of the Anatomical Museum.
The artwork consists of a circular bench constructed of three rings, just as the Anatomical Theater consists of three layers. The bench is supported by 13 steel sculptures. These are simplified forms of organs, such as lungs, heart, brain, etc. So no parts of the skeleton as in the original theater, but the parts of the body that disappear after death.
Everybody, like the Anatomical Theatre, is a place where you can stay and meet others.