Design for the new University Library

More open and lighter

The ground floor in the East wing, with new skylights and an additional void.

The University Library Building was erected in 1968, in accordance with a well-structured and functional design. Over the years, the original clarity of the design got lost due to a slew of ad-hoc changes. The renovation design by architects ABT and jefvandenputte architectuur will restore light, openness and transparency to the building.

The new University Library will be all about get-togethers, the provision of information and studying in silence. New voids and skylights will make the spaces look larger and increase the amount of light inside.

New interconnected views will be created. The staircases and fire-resistant barriers at the heart of the building will be restored to their original glass-only state so as to make the area connecting the East and West wings appear more spacious.

The isle in the pond will be fixed up and will be converted into an outdoor seating area accessible to visitors.

The exterior, with an additional entrance at Institutenlaan.      The new entrance to the conversion floor with its new staircase.

New entrance and entrance area

Thanks to a second entrance at street level, on Institutenlaan, the library will be more readily accessible. For its part, the original entrance (through the skybridge linking the library to the Theil Building) will continue to exist. This skybridge will be equipped with machines vending coffee, soft drinks and office supplies. 

Once visitors enter the library through the new entrance, a new atrium void will provide them with a view of the upper floors and walking directions. A new, large staircase will provide access to the ground floor entrance area, which will be home to a reception desk serving both the UL and the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet. In addition to this service desk, library users will find the Self-Service Library here, where they will be able to borrow and return books during the building’s opening hours.

The ground floor in the West wing with the new staircase.      The ground floor of the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet. 

At the heart of the library building will be the books owned by the Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet. The Leeskabinet was founded as a society library back in 1859. The architects’ design will be in keeping with this historical background. The core of the building will be given its own identity, which will be a modern take on a classical library interior.

Study spots

Once the make-over has been completed, the building will be home to some 900 well-equipped and thoroughly modern study spots. The majority of these spots will be geared to individual students, and they will be the quietest study spots on campus. Each study spot equipped with a PC will have one additional power point for the student’s use, whereas each study spot not equipped with a computer will have two power points for the student’s use.

The conversion floor in the East wing with a view of the new void.      The first floor in the East wing.

The library will be divided into silence zones clearly and recognisably. The study areas near the facade will be separated from the aisles by bookcases, which will be shoulder height, thus creating an open and surveyable space.

The gallery on the first floor of the West wing.

Materials and sustainability

The architects have opted to use basic materials and colours with a luxury appearance, which will fit in well with the robust character and original colour palette of the building. 

The new library will be ‘greener’ thanks to the use of a great deal of insulating glass. The roof will be better insulated as well and will be equipped with gold moss sedum and solar panels. Since the structure will be more open, daylight will penetrate farther into the building, which means less artificial light will be required. Special climate ceilings will ensure that the building will have the right temperature.

Video Design Library 2017