Construction Update, October 2016

Renovation of the library building has been in full swing since November 2015. Last summer, particular progress was made at the building site. Here are three examples: replacement of the exterior facade, the fitting of two large staircase elements, plus refurbishment of the basement storage.

New exterior facade; milestone achieved

With the removal of the scaffolding and scaffolding sheets it is clearly visible: every storey of the library building has been reglazed.

Henk Minnaard, project manager with contractor Dura Vermeer: 'Over three months or so, we have replaced the 177 external window frames. At the conversion floor level, a special technique was used to replace the windows: a glazing robot.'

Installation of conversion floor windows using a glazing robot.

With the insulated steel window frames and triple glazing, the library now not only has improved and more energy efficient interior climate control, the transparent appearance of the 1968 facade has also been restored. Henk Minnaard: 'The new design by the architectural combination that is ABT-jefvandenputte architectuur (this latter is now known as Defesche Van den Putte architectuur en stedenbouw) indeed restores the original bright appearance of the ground floor facade. When the library was fitted with double glazing in the 1980s, a dividing jamb was added to the middle of each pane of glass. With triple glazing and today’s technologies, large dimensions can again be achieved and we can now fit a single large glass pane.'

By switching the climate system (from radiators to climatic ceilings), the parapets have been reopened as they were in 1968.

Installation of the new windows heralded the completion of the main work on the facade, and the milestone ‘facade renewed’ has been ticked off on the big time bar on the skybridge.

Third milestone on the time bar achieved

Hoisting in the stairways

Additional voids were created for the renewed library. Two of them also feature a large steel stairway. A special technique was used to hoist these prefab constructions into position at the beginning of the summer. Henk Minnaard: 'The logistics of the large staircase (measuring some 13 x 4 x 4 metres) on the west side was the most challenging thing, but it all went well. From Collegelaan, the stairway was first hoisted over the skybridge by crane. The stairway was then driven in on a flatbed truck via the entrance on the Institutenlaan.'

Dura Vermeer is currently busy on site working on the strip steel and in-built glass balustrades all around the stairs and voids.

Positioning of the stairway and design drawing of the conversion floor, with the large stairway on the left.

Storage renovation

Last summer, major works were carried out behind the scenes in the basement: redesign of the book storage. Whereas the historical book robot ‘Randtriever’ used to manage six consecutive rows of books, shelves on wheels have now been installed that together provide almost 10 consecutive kilometres of storage space. Isabelle Slok, UL project manager, buildings and safety: 'This system has enabled us to organise the storage more efficiently, allowing us to now accommodate also a large part of our external storage here in our own library building. The removal within the basement was a major task; we managed to move around 7 consecutive km of books within a short space of time. The renovation can now continue where there were once 175,000 titles.'

Installation of the book shelves on wheels (photos: A. Kers)

Countdown to 2017

The next milestone on the big time bar on the skybridge is the completion of the new entrance on Institutenlaan, which is expected at the end of this year. The new University Library is due to open in the Spring of 2017. In the meantime, the University Library is housed in the Polak, V and Tinbergen buildings.

More information about the renovation and temporary housing.