Mekel Park & University Library

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The busy Mekel Road, which divided the campus of the Delft University of Techology (TU Delft), is replaced by the eye-catching Mekel Park. Centrally located, the park connects the various faculties of the TU Delft, and in doing so, reflects the interdisciplinary character of the university.

Designed by Mecanoo; at 800 metres long and 80 metres wide, Mekel Park lends a grandeur to the university and provides an enjoyable meeting place for the international community of teachers and students. Mekel Park forms a corridor for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and public transport along a carefully composed network of paths.

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Three stops for buses and trams are located on the edge of an esplanade, called the Nieuwe Delft, which zigzags the length of the park.The bluestone edge of this route is an extended bench that stretches for one kilometre, while the pavement of mixed cleft granite cobblestones lends the esplanade a bold and distinguished character. A network of smaller paths intersects Nieuwe Delft and the rest of Mekel Park, complemented by a meandering band of trees made up of various species.

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The former sunken car parking areas are transformed into slopes, with resulting height differences that accentuate the landscape of trees. Each faculty has its own entrance square off the park. Planned shops, restaurants and cafés with terraces facing Mekel Park will enhance the lively campus feel.

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In addition to this, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) commissioned Mecanoo to design a library that would be the heart of the university and give a face to a campus the size of a city district. The iconic library of TU Delft, designed with the digital transition in mind, still meets expectations more than two decades after its opening.

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A vast lawn opposite the Brutalist concrete auditorium is tilted at one point; the library slides into the resulting space underneath. A cone, the symbol of technical engineering, pierces the lawn and library, attaching them like a pushpin. Landscape, library and auditorium form a new unity becoming the preferred meeting place on the TU Delft international campus.

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Library building won National Steel Construction Prize, Dutch Steel Building Institute 1998; Award for the Millennium, Corus Construction 2000.

text&images: Mecanoo

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