University Library Utrecht
The Utrecht University Library, established in 1636, is located on the Uithof campus, situated a short distance from the city center. It is comprised of the library itself and an adjacent parking garage with multiple voids–between which is a courtyard garden and a café named for
Its floors are finished in a glossy white polyurethane, while all other surfaces–with the exception of the custom designed orange-red furnishings, which denote areas of interaction with librarians–are painted matte black. Because of these finishes, when looking down from the library’s highest inhabitable space, white surfaces are predominately seen, while when looking up from below, matte black dominates. These opposing colors subconsciously direct users to their desired area: white surfaces denote circulation, while all black surfaces denote areas of study or contemplation. Individual study rooms are recessed off secondary circulation paths.
Where the library’s black concrete surfaces are imprinted with the papyrus relief, book stacks are to be found behind, as the library does not have one central book depot, and instead utilizes multiple stacks dispersed throughout each level, which seem to float like black storm clouds throughout the main space. When totaled, these stacks house more than 4.2 million books. The omnipresent color black is critical to creating the interior’s transcending atmosphere of concentration, security, and silent communication–all of which are essential to the integrated functioning of this distinctively refined university library.
Information provided in part by: Wiel Arets Architects