Office / Architect
Wiel Arets Architects / WAA / Wiel Arets
Pauline Bremmer, Papa Dominic, Vaes Frederick, Aspers Harold, Vuust Henrik, Harold Hermans, Guido Neijnens, Michael Pedersen, Vincent Piroux, Thijssen Rene, Jacques van Eyck, Jan Vanweert, Michiel Vrehen, Richard Welten
Utrecht / The Netherlands
The University Library is an addition to the new university complex in the city of Utrecht. In any library, the storage of books and other light-sensitive items requires closed spaces, while the study space for students and researchers requires openness. Its organisation seeks to reconcile such a paradoxical requirement of a university library in an ingenious manner. The closed volumes of the depots are suspended like opaque clouds in the air, yet the open structure gives visitors an experience of spaciousness and freedom. Patterns of leaves are printed onto the glazed façades to create the sense of a building in the woods and to reduce sunlight penetration.

From the main entrance, a wide staircase leads to the auditorium and exhibition space, and then continues further to the actual library area on the first level. Beyond the entrance gateways is the large lending area with the central desk. The void here rises to the very top of the building. Next to the void are the main staircases and elevators. These give access to all the reading rooms above and below. Next to the library, along the full length of the eastern side, a patio separates the library from the parking facilities and provides daylight on all sides. Located on the patio is the terrace of the reading cafe on the ground level. The parking facilities include a five-level garage and a separate bicycle shed.

Facade 1 ©Jan Bitter
Interior 1 ©Jan Bitter
Elevation ©Jan Bitter
Interior 1 ©Jan Bitter
Interior 2 ©Jan Bitter
Elevation 2 ©Jan Bitter