It may seem anachronistic to talk about future technology in a building dedicated to the past, but that’s exactly what TU Delft has planned. The Armamentarium, a 17th century heritage building in the City Centre, now houses two new lecture halls for the university.
But it’s only a temporary arrangement as the historic building has been rented for a year by the university to address a lack of space on campus.
In 1601, during the war between Spain and Holland, the Armamentarium was used as a storehouse for weapons. From 1983 till 2013, it housed the Leger Museum (the Army Museum) and a large collection of armoury, military objects and artefacts. Financial constraints led to the museum shutting down last year, and all exhibits were moved to the National Military Museum in Soesterbeg.
In order to befit its latest avatar as a lecture hall, the building underwent a few changes over the summer. Certain renovations (within the laws pertaining to heritage buildings) were made to make the museum more classroom-friendly. Renamed Building 2, two halls on the first floor of the building were refurbished and overhauled. “The halls are quite large and can accommodate 140 and 240 students each. The rooms were renovated to ensure a number of things such as proper ventilation so that it’s safe for large groups and tables and chairs were added among other things,” explains Brenda Hooiveld, Communications Advisor, Department of Education & Student Affairs.
The first class at Building 2 was an introductory lecture in Molecular Transport Phenomena (M.Sc Chemistry) held on September 1. “The courses that needed rescheduling anyway were adjusted here. But many of our bachelor’s or master’s programmes have some courses or lectures here. The Faculty of Architectural Engineering has some tutorials here too,” she adds.
Talking about the reactions from students, Hooiveld says it’s been mostly favourable. “A lot of students live in the City Centre, so of course they don’t mind. As for the others, the first post about this on Facebook got 1,000 likes in an hour, so we think the students are quite excited about this. Everyone enjoys a class or exam in a building with history,” she adds.
Some comments on Facebook expressed concerns over the trudge from campus to the City Centre, but the schedules have made in a way to keep it less taxing. At the moment, no B.Sc first year or M.Sc first year classes will be held at Building 2. Opening hours are 8:00 to 18:00 and there is a service employee in the building to ensure that everything is in order.