Bouwkunde Delft

November 2008, Delft, the Netherlands

On May 13, 2008 a fire destroyed the Architecture building in Delft. Soon after, the university issued a call for ideas for the new building and for its location.
The most acclaimed feature of the van der Broek&Bakema building was the so called Bouwkunde Street.  We generate a new design on this basis. Given the strong and positive presence that the former Bouwkunde building had on the campus we decided to place the new building on its former site.

Strategy: Masterplan Vs. Design
Given these starting conditions: the vast ground-floor space, 50-60.000 m2 of programme, 10 different functions, more than 3000 users, and the possibility of expansion and retraction, we approach the task  as a Masterplan rather than as architecture.
As in a city, our Urban Plan will be composed of central avenues, plazas, districts, and secondary streets.

1- Urban Condition
To ensure maximum interaction with the urban context we placed all the shared and the larger functions at the ground-floor level. As a result, the dimensions of the plan are a square of 130 x 130 metres. On top of this Masterplan we place all the offices and studios.  Double-height spaces, patios, and plazas will determine the interrelations between them. We plan a park in front of the building of the exact same dimensions, 130×130: the TU Delft Central Park.

2- Interior streets
We will maintain two directions in the ground-floor plan: from the future tram stop to the parking area, and from the TU Delft Central Park to the sports area and pedestrian route. The Central Park will be organized along these directions too.

3- Districts
The interior streets organize the public programme into four districts according to their specific quality:
1-Eat, 2-Contemplate, 3-Work, 4-Listen. Each district enjoys four facades, two towards the outside, and two towards the interior streets.

1-About style:
-The Architecture faculty building should not be a lesson in style. It should allow its users to experience freely all the possible architectural representations. It is a neutral box, where almost everything is possible.
-The building should not be a frozen gesture. It should adapt successfully to the passing of time.
-The attraction of the building should not lay in the surface. The new Bouwkunde building will be fascinating and captivating on a deeper level.

2-About relations:
-Surface vs. Height: Taking the potential of the site, the ground-floor of the building grows in surface rather than in height and on this level the building becomes a Masterplan, achieving its maximum urban condition.
-Uninterrupted activity concept: Since elevators cut short the continuation of activity, we create a building that may function without elevators. The vertical circulations are oversized so they can be continuously and spontaneously programmed for exhibitions, debates, meetings, reading rooms…etc.
-Maximum interaction between functions within the building as they do not need to be separated out over many floors.

3-About space:
-Plenty of height: The ground-floor level is almost 8 metres high to allow for extreme flexibility of activities.
-Oversized circulation areas to provide space for creativity. Stairs become stages, podiums, and platforms.
-Each programme is continued in the space outdoors: the workshop, the restaurant, the exhibition space…etc
-Each programme has four facades (two towards the outside and two towards the inside) for maximum interaction.
-Many functions + many people = we need simple circulations.
-As in a city, the different districts display different characteristic sections.
-As in a Masterplan, each district may be designed by a different architect.

4-About strategy:
-Easy to grow, easy to shrink. In case of growth, parts of the structure are oversized in order to accommodate extra floors for future needs for office or studio spaces. The large heights of the floors allow for the (temporary) creation of second floors. In case of shrinkage, the four districts of the building may be rented out or used independently.
-Dual Sustainability concept: On the one hand to reach the conditions of a “0” emission building, and on the other, to reach a “100%” adaptability to future circumstances so it does not become obsolete and inadequate.

5-About education:
-Stimulate discussion: The studios and office spaces stand in close relation so as to stimulate discussion between students and teachers. Students of different years and of different disciplines will not be stacked in different floors but in districts sharing the plazas and “public spaces”
-The studios are placed around the large functions to allow for a continuity of the design process: think + visualize + materialize + expose + debate.
-Maintaining the creative process in the faculty: We provide plenty of different studio rooms (individual, small groups, working rooms…)
-Learning from everything, everywhere, anytime: knowledge will not be framed within a room or in a schedule. Knowledge will be stimulated automatically. The students will pass many functions before reaching their studios. They will look through the model room, visit a bookshop, listen to a spontaneous discussion concerning a certain graduate project exhibition in the stairway, and enjoy an exhibition loop before attending the lecture.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch , 1480-1490 or 1503-1504



Rome, Piranesi, XVIII – FAU- USP – São Paulo, Brasil – Vilanova Artigas, 1969



Plan + 8,60 m and +12,60 m

Plan +8,60 m

Plan ± 0,00



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Bouwkunde Delft
Project name: Building for Bouwkunde
Date: November 2008
Type: Open International Competition
Organizer: Delft University of Technology
Participants: 466 entries (1380 registrations from 50 countries)
Location: Delft, the Netherlands
Site: Former site of the Bouwkunde at the Berlageweg
Programme: Architectural faculty
Surface: Above ground net: 36.000 m², Gross floor area: 52.000 m²
Status: Competition
Client: TU Delft
Budget: N/A
STAR Team: Beatriz Ramo, Simone de Iacobis, Iñigo Paniego
-Model of public space: Xiana Méndez, Daniel Díez, Elia Salcedo