The main library of the University of Utrecht is located at the University Campus at ‘De Uithof’ in Utrecht. The University Library was designed by Wiel Arets Architects. The building looks like a glass black box and contains offices, classrooms, shops and the library. The cumulative floor space measures 36,000 m2.
Basically, the design is based on hard materials, which is why creative solutions were required for the integration of the acoustic measures in the desired look of the building. In the main hall of the library a light reflecting, but acoustically open, black fabric was applied with sound absorption behind. This corresponded with the black, but shiny, look of the interior.
In the accommodation areas (reading rooms, classrooms and office spaces), the acoustic measures have been applied in such a way that is does not impede the desired flexibility in interior design. An acoustic basis has been realised by applying acoustically absorbent material between the beams, distributed over the surface and directly underneath the floor. This way it is not needed to apply a suspended ceiling.
Installations in the floor
Because the installations can therefore not be installed above the suspended ceiling, the installations are integrated in the floor. This has been done by leaving a 400 mm installation zone (cavity) after every second precast unit. This cavity is then covered with a steel-concrete floor. These facilities makes the realisation of the desired flexibility in interior design possible. Walls can now be placed at every location under the beams. This way, one can choose from a wide array of different sizes and/or functions for each space.
Flexible workstation lay-out
The need for a particularly flexible lay-out of the workplaces required additional acoustical provisions in the interior design. By using sound absorption by the interior design elements, such as screens, (book)cabinets, and furniture, the lay-out (and the acoustics along with it) can be altered to fit the desired situation.
Photos: Jan Bitter