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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Library Technical University in Delft, Netherlands by Mecanoo Architecten

 
February 11th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Mecanoo Architecten

Books

The library of Delft Technical University is the central library of the Netherlands, but also the technical library of the Netherlands, linked by the latest electronic devices to libraries all over the world. The university library not only offers space to books, it also offers space for knowledge and research. It is a meeting place where ideas are exchanged. The programme allows for a thousand study places. That means that warmth and light will be given to more than three thousand students per day.

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

  • Architects: Mecanoo Architecten
  • Project: Library Technical University
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Design 1993-1995
  • Execution 1996-1998
  • Client ING Real Estate, Den Haag; Technische Universiteit Delft
  • Structural engineer ABT b.v., Delft/Velp
  • Photography: Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

  • Mechanical engineer Ketel raadgevende ingenieurs b.v., Delft
  • Electrical engineer Deerns raad-gevende ingenieurs b.v., Rijswijk
  • Main contractor Van Oorschot Versloot Bouw b.v.; Boele van Eesteren V.O.F., Rotterdam
  • Contractor climate wall Scheldebouw architectural components, Middelburg
  • Building costs incl. installations € 14,300,000 (1997)
  • Programme University library of app. 15,000 m2 with underground book archive, reading rooms, university publisher, offices, Trésor for historical books and exhibitions, study spaces, book binder and bookshop. Steel Building Prize 1998, Corus Construction Award 2000

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Grass and glass

The faculty buildings of the TU Delft stand to attention, they do not converse with one another. The aula by Van den Broek and Bakema breaks up the strict axis of the Mekelweg. It is a brutalistic, concrete building on a concrete surface. The shape of the building resembles a frog. And this frog needs grass. The library is a building that does not really want to be a building, but a landscape. The frog is placed on a big lawn. Like a sheet of paper the lawn is lifted on one side, columns are placed beneath it and the walls are filled with glass: a building of grass and glass. It is a landscape, with gently curving shapes; only the ends are sharp. You can literally walk over the library. A large volume is called for to contrast with the landscape: a cone that gives shape to the round, introverted reading rooms. They hang from the apex of the cone, giving the hall a large space free of columns. The cone as a symbol of technology, but also of calm and contemplation. Like a drawing pin, it pins down the ‘endless form of the landscape’.

 

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Light and warmth

Space, light and relaxing acoustics are lasting values for the design of a library. You must automatically fall silent when you enter it, like a cathedral. You can also feel the landscape inside. The metal ceiling runs through all the rooms without interruption and is gently lit from the columns. The columns support, illuminate and heat the hall. The enormous, extended floor has been given the colour of the Sahara. The blue wall with the hanging bookcase is almost a décor: you cannot mistake the fact that it is a library. The blue is the electric blue of the theatre. It makes the bookcase float even more than it actually does.

 

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Eco, grass and trees

The building has a carefully thought out eco-technology: the grass roof, the climate wall, the cold and heat storage, and the depot sunk into the ground, where the books are kept like a good wine. When the concrete paving stones around the Van den Broek and Bakema aula are removed, the grass is unrolled. The aula seems to float! The Technical University seems to have two new buildings: the library supports the landscape, and the aula has descended on the landscape.

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

Image Courtesy Christian Richters

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Category: University Building

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