Central Library
Delft University of Technology 
Prometheusplein 1 
The Netherlands

Mecanoo 1997 

The library is designed for the Delft University of Technology (also known as TU Delft). It is the central library for the campus and is located across from an auditorium that was built in 1966 by Van Den Broek & Bakema. The design of the auditorium was considered a brutalist style, because it is an awkward looking building that resembles a giant frog according to Mecanoo.

Instead of designing a building that contrasts this eye-catching auditorium, Mecanoo designed the library as a sloped plane, extending the grass from the ground to the very edge of the roof. 

Around the building, Mecanoo chose to use glass walls to give light exposure to the building.

A distinguishing feature of this building would have to be the cone that protrudes from the sloping grass roof. The cone emerges from inside of the library and peeks out of the roof. Underneath the cone inside the library is the circulation desk area. Within the cone, there is a spiral staircase that begins from beneath the cone all the way up inside the cone. This spiral leads to the 4 stories of reading rooms inside the cone.


Around the cone, there is a skylight that provides lighting for the interior and also helps highlight the cone from the interior.

Away from the cone, the lower two levels have ramps that lead to the stacks that are along one wall, which is painted with the Mecanoo signature blue. The book stacks stand in front of this blue wall and create contrast with the mixed color book covers.


Wilma Kwan 2003


How to visit

To get to the University campus, you can either take the bus or ride the bike.

From Delft train station, take bus 63, 121, 129, or 201. There is a bus stop just before the Auditorium Building on Michiel de Ruyterweg.

The alternative is to bike there. It is a ten-minute bike ride from the Delft train station. From the station cross Westsingel to get on Westvest. Head south till you hit Zuidwal. Go East on Zuidwall till you get to Michiel de Ruyterweg which will bring you into the University campus. On Michiel de Ruyterweg you will see Christian Huygensweg on your left and the library is just at the end of the street.

For more information about the library and its opening hours please visit www.library.tudelft.nl. Also visit the architect's web site at www.mecanoo.com

Books and other web sites

Click the link below either to see more information or to order direct from


Composition Contrast Complexity: Mecanoo Architects
Francine Houben and Christian Richter



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