Ten technical fun facts about the Boekenberg

A lot has been said about the architecture of the Boekenberg: a pyramid design, glass walls, a mountain of books. But that doesn’t mean everything has been said, far from it! We have compiled a top ten fun facts about the architecture, the exterior, the interior and further set up of the Boekenberg, Spijkenisse.

    1. Agriculture meets design
      The Boekenberg takes its impressive design from a classic barn with its characteristic pointed roof, which references Spijkenisse’s rich agricultural past. This includes the interior in which you can see the red brick and bookshelves, which are located throughout the library. These shelves are made from recycled flowerpots! They are reused, affordable, environmentally friendly and fireproof. The red bricks are also more innovative than you would expect: they are an experimental compound of warmth-absorbing brick and sound-absorbing brick.
    2. A 480-meter mountain climb
      All ‘closed off’ spaces in the Boekenberg, like meeting rooms and offices, are stacked on top of each other. Surrounding them are the bookshelves and surrounding that the main walkway with a length of 480 meters, a true mountain climb to the top! The route takes you past various relaxation areas, which have different functions and views of the city. Your road to the top will be rewarded.
    3. A glass roof as compromise
      The Boekenberg was designed with the idea of openness in mind, to be as accessible as possible. Winy Maas had originally envisioned a completely open Boekenberg, without a roof. The Dutch weather and climate didn’t allow this so a glass roof was added to the design. Passers-by can look straight into the Boekenberg and visitors can enjoy a great view of the Marktplein and the old church.
    4. Counting windows
      Anyone can see that the Boekenberg mainly consists of glass. The building contains 1006 windows in total. These windows need to be washed every once in a while, which looks like this.
    5. Yay environment!
      Being environmentally friendly is one of the key points the Boekenberg is about. The building is made up of CO2-neutral materials. Our climate control system ‘stores’ cold and hot air below the building. The walls also store heat thanks to a special beeswax formula and release heat when needed. The ‘grey’ rainwater is used for flushing our toilets, and for the underfloor heating. The airstream is used by opening small win-dows from top to bottom, creating a natural air conditioning. The automated blinds roll down when sunlight becomes too much. All to make sure your visit is as pleasant as possible. This technology resulted in an EPC score (energy performance coefficient) of 0.7 (the lower, the better). Besides technology, nature has a special place in our climate control: the many trees also make a contribution.
    6. Many rewards for this mountain
      The library’s architecture is very popular. The building has not gone unnoticed since its opening in 2012. It has won various prizes:

      1. 3rd place Houtarchitectuurprijs (2012),
      2. 2nd place Best Library of The Netherlands (2012),
      3. 1st place Ret Dot Design Award (2013),
      4. nominated for Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture (2013),
      5. nominated for Design of the Year 2013, by V&A Museum London,
      6. nominated for Public Library of the Year Award (2014).
    7. A mountain of wood
      A lot of wood has been used in the creation of the Boekenberg, which gives the inside a nice and warm feeling. No less than 116 firewood trusses of 1 meter high and 120 mm thick were installed. They support the glass roof of the building along with four ridges, a rafter and trimmers.
    8. Hidden collection on display
      The highest bookshelves, mounted against the terraces of the mountain, are too high to reach from the main walkway. One would call that odd for a library, but this was also thought through. Above 180 cm you can find our so called ‘hidden collection’, display-ing books which would otherwise be in storage.
    9. Bright lighting plan
      A library needs a good and functional lighting plan. This plan for the Boekenberg con-sists of streetlights and reading lamps, a combination of open and intimate. The many lights really show their worth at night; you can perfectly see all the lights shine in this beautiful dome from the Markt.
    10. Boekenberg neighbourhood
      Did you know that, together with the Boekenberg, a whole Boekenberg neighboorhood was built? The architectural company MVRDV also designed 42 new houses on the Kees de Groenplein. These also have the red brick walls and pointed roofs.