It took more than one and a half years, but the renovation work in the UL is almost finished. At the end of May the doors will open and this week students and staff were given a sneak preview. Armed with a floor plan and slippers over our shoes, EM took a look as well.

Light, lots of light. That’s what strikes you most when you enter the renovated university library through the new entrance on the ground floor. Where in the quiet areas in particular the old UL was more like a bunker (with the result that after a day of studying you emerged feeling like a zombie), the new building is an oasis of light.

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The new stairs in the central hall, where the lending counter used to be.


This is a deliberate choice on the part of architect Jef van den Putte. “In fact this was the most important thing for us, bringing back the light. Part of the windows used to have black panels in front of them; these have been removed. And the concrete pillars are much narrower, allowing more light in.”

The ‘clearing up’ of the library was another of the architect’s aims. So the metres-high bookshelves have gone, to be replaced by lower shelves. “The visual lines are back and you have a view through the whole building again. You no longer have to walk through the whole library looking for a place to work like you used to, as the open character allows you to see immediately where there is a space.”

Fighting for sockets

Another improvement: the fight for sockets is definitely a thing of the past. Every study space has two connections and the rest of the building also has lots of sockets where you can charge your laptop, for instance. And when you need a break from studying and a bit of fresh air, there’s no need to leave the library. Since the renovation, it has been possible for visitors to access the island in the pond.

Did you miss the sneak preview and are you curious about what the new UL looks like? For two weeks before the opening students are needed as early birds to test the new study spaces. You can register here.