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The atrium in the new University Library (UB) is as good as done. The spectacular steel-and-glass roof structure is complete, providing a canopy over the former courtyard garden of the Binnengasthuis. The resulting atrium will serve as a meeting place for students and researchers in the new University Library. The new wing on the corner of the Nieuwe Doelenstraat is progressing rapidly as well. The new University Library will open in the third quarter of 2025. The latest timelapse video shows the progress being made on the atrium roof and the new wing.
Image: Keur Overview - Drone picture University Library Amsterdam

Atrium canopy   

In designing the atrium roof, the architect was inspired by nature. The roof resembles a leaf and the steel staircase supporting it resembles a tree. Construction was a challenge as the full weight of the canopy could not be allowed to rest on the old walls of the former hospital. This is because the canopy contains some 230 tons of steel, not to mention 457 panes of glass. The roof is made up of around 550 square metres of glass in total. It incorporates an ingenious drainage system that can channel off 1,000 litres of water per minute in the event of a rain shower.

The atrium will act as the central space in the new University Library. The hospital's former courtyard garden will now become a dramatically vaulted space which will not only serve as a meeting place for students and researchers but can be used for events as well. The entrance opens directly into the atrium, where the information desk can be found. There are seating areas for informal discussions and the steel staircase houses study spots on the landings. Additional space has been created in the excavated basement of the atrium, where study rooms and the lending desk are located. With the atrium’s construction, the former exterior walls of the second surgical clinic and the convent have become interior walls. Rather than a garden, the balconies attached to the study rooms on the different floors now overlook the atrium.

New wing

The new wing is also taking shape and, with three floors, will offer plenty of space.  On the ground floor, for instance, there will be a cosy UB Café with 100 seats where visitors can drink coffee or have lunch. The first and second floors will have spacious study areas and lockable single rooms. The third floor will have a collaboration room and a roof terrace boasting outdoor study spots and fantastic views over Amsterdam. The newly constructed space in the basement will be used as a dispatch area for pick-up and delivery of books and other goods. Meanwhile, the glass façades of the new wing have been installed. At the end of the summer, these will be completely hidden when the bronze-coloured 10-by-50-metre façade screen is mounted over them. Barrels weighing 32,000 kg had been suspended from the concrete floor as pre-loads for the façade screen, steel structure and glass façade. It is an unusual construction method.

The first iconic element — the atrium — is now complete.  The second iconic element — the façade screen — is expected to be finished this summer. Work will then start on the interior of the building and we will be able to open our beautiful University Library in September 2025.

Watch the timelapse:

Timelapse new University Library
Timelapse new University Library