Design OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen

In coordination with DGFB UGent, a small-scale architecture competition was launched in early 2010. The mission of the competition was to combine two contradicting functions within one space: a functional library and a hall for public and ceremonial events, implemented in the former physics laboratory. The monumental hall on the ground floor receives natural light through the glass ceiling and large windows just below the cornice. A wrought iron balcony alongside the windows gives the room a particular charm. Surrounding the hall are smaller rooms, which can be used for back office library services.

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen - the winner of the competition - inserted a three-story high walk-in cupboard in the hall. A modular system that keeps repeating one element: a steel plate 1 meter wide and 30 centimeters deep. This panel is used as a bookshelf, floor element and stair step. Perforated steel sheets - which forms the parapet of the first floor - can be lowered to the ground via a vertically sliding system. When putted down, they screen the books on the ground floor and block the passage to the stairs and adjacent rooms, while at the same time the collection remains visible. The traditional character of the reading room is always preserved.

The design has received multiple awards.

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen's design received the Belgian Prize for Architecture, Small Interventions category, 2015, A+.
From the jury report: "In this new category, the jury unanimously chose OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen's faculty library. The project articulates a sensitive and intelligent response to a complex program based on a single idea. It is a refined and clever intervention in an existing building, adding atmosphere and modernity to its original character, without affecting the continuity within the architectural body. [ldv]". A+257, December 2015-January 2016.

In December 2016 the Faculty Library became the laureate of the Steel Construction Competition, Infosteel, in the Category C: Characteristic elements in steel. From the jury report, "The fact that rhythm and materials were adopted from the existing parapet was appreciated by the jury. The cupboard, over several floors and steel structure were designed as a common whole. A movable trellis to protect the books allows the space to be used for other activities as well. Jury Report, Steel Building Competition 2016". Read the full article in info-steel-48 magazine (2016) here.

The Faculty Library was included in the Flanders Architectural Review No. 12: Tailored Architecture (2016) . The theme issue of the Spanish magazine El Croquis (2016) also mentions the project.

The Faculty Library of Engineering and Architecture is included in the publication Best buildings Belgium (2018). The library is accompanied by other Ghent buildings such as the Booktower, Feestlokaal Vooruit and the Faculty of Economics & Business Administration UGent.

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