Delft University of Technology Library
Mecanoo, 1998



Libraries, Urban Architecture,

Cement, Glass,

As one approaches the entrance to the Delft University of Technology Library - designed by Mecanoo (Henk Döll, Francine Houben)- it becomes clear that the library offers readers and visitors two possible forms of use: one on the inside, and the other on its roof.

Delft University of Technology Library<br> Mecanoo, 1998 This is the most striking thing about the project: the fact that the roof can be used as a hanging garden. Covered in a well-manicured lawn, the roof manages to replace the greenery that had to be eliminated at ground level to permit construction of the building.
What's more, it becomes a place for recreation, for sunbathing or eating lunch; there are even pictures of people snowboarding on the snow-covered roof in winter. According to the architects: "The university needed a campus atmosphere: lawns with flowers and trees where students and professors meet informally on broad stairs. (...) The vast lawn is lifted on one edge like a sheet of paper and shapes the roof of the new library. A roof that can be walked upon. The grass roof of the library is freely accessible for walking and lounging, creating a new amenity for the whole campus."
The roof offers a view of Assembly Hall, one of the products of Van den Broek & Bakema's brutalist phase, an imposing auditorium of bare reinforced concrete that contrasts with the light, dynamic feel of Mecanoo's building.
On the inside, the building is organised on five levels, four of which are contained in a conical volume whose tip 'pierces' the lawn on its roof, with a spiral staircase where natural light is catalysed through a glass spire. Against the blue background of the room, a wall of volumes suspended as a gallery runs right through all four levels, each of which has reading tables and desks.

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