Big Beautiful Black Box

Set up as a brilliantly measured composition of large, light open spaces and dark secluded areas, the Utrecht University Library by Dutch architect Wiel Arets creates an exquisite environment for studying without restraint.

The colour scheme in the building that houses 42 million books is inelaborate: black and white, with only few small elements in red that mark places of interaction and public movement such as checkout areas and information desks. A fine feature is the repeated plant pattern that is integrated troughout the library. These bits of jungle are carved in relief on glazed black panels and printed on the glass facade to filter the daylight that enters the building deep and reflects on the white shiny floors. All in all this refined library offers very few excuses for students to flinch from their work.

Photos: Wiel Arets Architects 

Rob Giesendorf

Rob is designer and art-director, and editor of Plant Light Book

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