Library Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) commissioned Mecanoo to design a library that would be the heart of the university and give a face to a campus the size of a city district. The iconic library of TU Delft, designed with the digital transition in mind, still meets expectations more than two decades after its opening.

A vast lawn opposite the Brutalist concrete auditorium is tilted at one point; the library slides into the resulting space underneath. A cone, the symbol of technical engineering, pierces the lawn and library, attaching them like a pushpin. Landscape, library and auditorium form a new unity becoming the preferred meeting place on the TU Delft international campus.

Upon entering, visitors are drawn to the impressive wall of books that hangs in front of an expansive deep blue background. The columns in the central space not only support the structure but also provide heating and ventilation, and illuminate the continuous metal ceiling that flows across all spaces.

Daylight enters the building through the climate-controlled glass facades, as well as through the cone whose base forms the focal point of the central space. Moreover, the cone shapes different reading rooms on the upper floors. Mecanoo continues to work with the library, designing incremental upgrades of the learning environments (2008-2011) and offices spaces (2015-2016).

The building has climate façades and an insulating walkable grass roof.
The library is a building that does not really want to be a building, but a landscape.
Stairs to the cone.
Silent study area in the cone.
The blue is the electric blue of the theatre. It makes the bookcase float even more than it actually does.
Couches as informal study area.
The main hall of the library is defined by its spaciousness. It has a cathedral-like effect: imposing and inviting.
Urban composition of the Aula, and the library, 1995, made up of two original drawings by Van den Broek en Bakema and Mecanoo.
Basement level showing the book depot.
Bel étage level
Roof level (cutaway into the interior).
Roof level

Client: ING Real Estate

Programme: University library of 15,000 m2 with underground book archive, reading rooms, university publisher, offices, Trésor for historical books and exhibitions, study spaces, book binder and bookshop; interior re-design including front desk, informal study areas and project rooms.

Awards: National Steel Construction Prize, Dutch Steel Building Institute 1998; Award for the Millennium, Corus Construction 2000.

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