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Central Library Amsterdam or in Dutch Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam Centrale Bibliotheek was completed in 2007. The building was designed by Jo Coenen, the former state architect of the Netherlands. Located just across a pedestrian bridge from Renzo’s Nemo Science Centre.

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This is the largest public library in Europe. It is a home for over 1.7M books (circulation 5M), has 10 floors, a floor surface of 28,500 m2, 1200 seats, of which 600 with Internet-connected computers, staff of 200, an auditorium, an exhibition room, 2 museums, 2000 parking spaces for bicycles and a restaurant with a south-facing terrace.

The building is divided in three vertical sections: the public bottom with attractive children’s library, space for periodicals and computer users,  the centre, houses the books and creates much calmer, silent, carpeted, low ceiling spaces. The top where the theatre and the restaurant are located, is the place where people can relax and meet others. The restaurant terrace provides great views to the city.

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The same materials used for the exterior are used for the interior.

Overall impression was very positive: accessible, bright, inviting, monumental, plenty of different zones for everyone’s preference. I was visiting this building at night. The library works until 10 pm. and is free to enter for anyone, therefore I believe that is just as it should be: public building serving the public and it’s needs. This building is attractive enough to be a part of design oriented/book lover tourist’s itinerary. Or at least can be visited as a viewing spot.

Some images of Netherlands Maritime University on the Maas river in Rotterdam, designed by Neutelings-Riedijk Architects.

Cantilever architecture, with an idea behind: the overhanging part has a conference hall inside and the overall shape reminds a periscope of a ship. Checked aluminium blue and grey cladding symbolises stacked shipping containers. All of what the students in the future will probably be working with.

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65 metres high tower, provides a view of the port of Rotterdam (the largest port in Europe). This interesting building is visible from plenty of different perspectives along the Maas river and can easily be distinguished even from the great distance.

The TU Delft central library, The Netherlands, designed by the Mecanoo architects designed in
1993 -1995 and built in 1996 -1997.

I walked on the green roof around the cone. The green roof was very pleasant to lay down and I could almost see myself happily rolling down the slope… However it started raining and I had rush down inside. The general feeling while walking on the roof  made me remember Oslo Opera House, I think the latter building was influenced by the former (also the shape of the entrance). The difference is that TU Delft library possesses feeling of human scale and the Oslo Opera house has much more sense of grandeur.

The entrance of the library is not accessible for handicapped people(that is surely due to building being relatively old, public awareness has changed, plus the laws have changed), and my attempts to photograph the front nicely were hindered by un-photogenic trash bins (what surely were not a part of original design).

Some more remarks about exterior – the random openings on the concrete wall by the entrance really amused me. Whether consciously architects realised it or not, the origins can be found on defensive walls and their shooting holes around the world, especially similar ones can be seen in Japanese castles.

Views of the library from outside and inside from the ground floor:

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Interior was pure visual and photographic pleasure. Easy to orient oneself, bright colours, calm and inspiring environment for study. Atrium in the cone structure, brings natural light down to the very center of the building.

Some more images of the library from the first level:

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The building won several awards: in 1998 National Steel Construction Prize by Dutch Steel Building Institute and in 2000 Award for the Millennium by Corus Construction.

The Baljurk (Ball-gown building) designed by architect: Eric Vreedenburgh – Archipelontwerpers.

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Built in 2005 at Kettingstaat / Achterom streets, this is quite well published building, easy to spot, easy to remember.  Apparently more interesting than just shiny front façade cover – contains apartment blocks with roof terraces. And as I think about it-if they ever get bored, they can always change the building’s “evening dress” to anything else they can come up with.

One of the few buildings that is well designed and evidently much work and thoughts put into it – every corner of it is photo-worthy.
This project Haagse tramtunnel comprises of 28000 m2 in several levels underground, 1250 m long tunnel, 500 parking spots, two tram stops of which I visited photographed and present one: station Spui. Designed by OMA – Rem Koolhaas, the design was later taken by architect Rob Hilz, construction started in 1996, finished in 2004.

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There were some troubles on the way to implementation: the tunnels got flooded, the construction halted, budget exploded. But these problems were soon forgotten after the project won several prizes. It seems that good architecture can save the day.

I am starting off with a place what made me burst into tears after visiting – I missed out a lot by not studying here. That‘s an impression by just walking around and pretending to be a student.

TU Delft Faculty of Architecture :

Modelling area:

Plenty of model making machines (do not even have a clue what they are). As we discussed together with fellow architects: it is rather strange how much importance is put on modelling in architecture schools around the world. And the people who actually do get a chance to make models in real world are ether students/interns/part timers or specialised firms (non architects). Personally having worked in small offices only, I made a simple model once!

So called the Why Factory:

Lecture hall and auditorium designed by architects MVRDV and designer Richard Hutten.

tu delft architecture faculty book counter

Interesting counter made out of books.

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