Design by the book

When you step through the doors of BK City, it doesn’t take long to realize you are in a unique space. And since the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft is the only one with its own library it is only fitting that it should reflect something special.

The focal point of the modern, open-plan library is an unusual reception desk made of recycled books. According to Noelle Huijgen, of Fokkema & Partners Architects, they were trying to create something that would be an “eye catcher”.  For Huijgen, who is a 2003 TUD graduate, this was a very personal project. She was one of the architects on the design team that worked on the BK City project after a fire destroyed the old architecture building in 2008.

Huijgen explains that there was a large team working together on the renovation project. After the architects came up with the initial idea for the desk, they created a 3D model. From there they enlisted the help of two artists to actually create the piece. It took the artists three weeks to construct the outer part of the desk, attaching the books with glue and screws. Some of the more than 2,000 books they used were salvaged from the old building and others came from second hand shops. Although not all of the books are related to architecture, the entire top layer is.

During the construction phase, the team encountered some challenges along the way. “Books are heavy,” says Huijgen, “and so the construction of the floor had to be redone to carry the load.” And in order to support the outer structure, they had to build an inner support made of wood and steel. Once the structure was stabilized, they placed a layer of glass on top to protect the fragile books.

Overall, Huijgen feels the library was a big success for the whole BK City design. In fact, she has received questions about the book desk from as far away as Australia and the United States. “I don’t understand why so many people are interested,” she says. According to Huijgen the desk was fairly easy to build, but it seems to inspire something in people who see it.  And the lucky students who spend time in the BK City library are sure to be inspired by this bright, colorful and inspiring space as well.When you step through the doors of BK City, it doesn’t take long to realize you are in a unique space. And since the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft is the only one with its own library it is only fitting that it should reflect something special.