Maarten on ‘his’ library

Radboud University Library in Nijmegen


Past December Inbo won the selection for modernization of the Radboud University Library in Nijmegen. Maarten Hooijmeijer explains how he translated his personal fascinations into a concept. Maarten Hooijmeijer (35) is one of the architects at Inbo that shift their focus more and more to the use and atmosphere of interiors. “New assignments increasingly concern the interior of existing buildings en how this can be adjusted to the current and future needs of its users.” This was also the request for the Radboud University Library: renew and increase the study environments of the existing building. Due to the heavy materials and stern lines the library has a harsh look. But once you’re inside the building breaths a pleasant and dynamic atmosphere, in spite of all the ‘silent spaces’. “What fascinates me is the key role this building plays in the life of students. More and more the building becomes a second living room, a place where students feel at home and that is adjusted to their specific needs. The library is a place where you easily meet up for working together; it’s a real meeting point. Situated at the heart of the University grounds and equipped with all modern conveniences. Even the coffee is great, so what more do you want?” Not only students, also teachers en employees find a comfortable work environment in the library. Because of this a very diverse audience attends. “The challenge in this assignment is to arrange all the facilities and make sure people are able to find them. But above all it’s about facilitating sufficient and various study spots. Whether you pick up a book or a laptop, you always find a suitable place to work.” “To prevent a restless and clouded atmosphere, I use large-scale architectural interventions. In a situation where a lot is going on, these interventions introduce peace, quiet and oversight. Places and spaces all have their own atmosphere and appearance, each with a specific function or meaning. For instance, a space for exposition and display is required. This won’t be some bland showcase, but a gigantic 35 meter long wall filled with cabinets. By this you define the character of the surrounding spaces and you enhance the experience and orientation of a building.”“The project reminds me of my own home. Having two year old twins my home is always crowded and noisy. In our interior we offer our kids a clear space to play in. We consciously create places for peace and quiet or the opposite, activity. Hereby our house continues to be a home, a place where you like to be and where everybody is happy.” Photo: Thea van den Heuvel /DAPh More information: Maarten Hooijmeijer