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Books, seclusion, plants, views, light and space. These are the terms students used most to describe their favourite visual impressions of possible study places featured in the Library’s ‘Study Places Tinder’ survey for the new UB. The architect used the results from the survey for his first design sketches of the study areas before again presenting them to the students for comment.

study room University Library
One of the current large quiet study rooms in the University Library

Until the end of the summer MVSA Architects will be working on the definitive design for the interior of the new University Library (UB), which is set to open in 2021. In buildings BG13/14 on the Binnengasthuis site of the University Quarter, study places will be an important feature of the new UB. Students will be involved as much as possible in the entire design process. MVSA Architects were chosen for the project in 2015 partly as a result of their response to the Visual Schedule of Requirements compiled by students.

Results of study places survey

In the first three weeks of January 2018, students provided input for MVSA Architects’ interior design of the study areas by completing the ‘Study Places Tinder’ survey. The survey showed visual impressions of possible study places and students were able to indicate whether or not they liked them, giving reasons why. A total of 363 students completed the survey, also gaining the chance to win an iPad.

winner survey study places
Master’s student Kimberly Vuurboom (right) is presented with the iPad by Marloes van Wagtendonk, Library project leader for the new UB

Study places survey winner

Student Kimberly Vuurboom also completed the questionnaire and was the lucky winner of the iPad. When the new UB opens in 2021, she will already have graduated, but as a Master’s student, she claims to be a seasoned expert on the subject of study places and really enjoyed having an opportunity to share her views.

Variety of study places

What students particularly liked were books and plants in the study areas, study places alongside windows, preferably with a view, and quiet, secluded places. They were not so impressed by circular tables, areas that are less well-lit and large, overfilled rooms. Interestingly, ‘social control’ emerged from the survey as an important element in determining the quality of a study area. A large number of students are motivated by seeing other people study, as it makes them more likely to put in maximum effort. In the survey, a large variety of types of spaces were presented and it clearly emerged that there is a need for a wide diversity because people’s preferences diverged quite significantly. Whereas one student may prefer to concentrate on their work in a secluded single study unit, another will opt for a place on a comfy chair alongside a fellow student. As the library intends to serve all students as effectively as possible, it is opting for a varied range of study spaces.

study room
The UB’s collaborative study room

Architects first design sketches presented to students

MVSA Architects incorporated the input from the survey in the design sketch below before presenting it to students on Wednesday, 31 January 2018. This again resulted in some valuable feedback: students were enthusiastic about the airy rooms, larger areas featuring smaller units and the variety of different types of study spaces. The proposal to have raised stools next to the window faced some resistance. For that position, students prefer a chair with a good backrest, suitable for longer, more concentrated study. It was also suggested that longer tables would be more suitable than short tables for concentrated study because this would be less likely to encourage students to chat. MVSA Architects intends to apply the feedback in its further work. The definitive interior design will be completed and presented at the end of the summer.

Would you like to monitor developments in the new UB or suggest ideas?

You can find further information about the construction process on the campus website.

If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to become involved in developing the design of the new UB, pass on your email address to Marloes van Wagtendonk, Library project leader for the new UB.

M. (Marloes) van Wagtendonk MSc

Project leader for the new UB