DOK Delft OPENLibrary Design 06 Nov 2018
When an art school, a library, and a music school face budget cuts that force them all into the same building, what happens? Possibly chaos, or perhaps one institution behind three separate doors? Not with this project. All parties knew the only way out was in; they had to cooperate.
Killing your Darlings
These three parties ended up having to share the library building. During workshops, we asked ourselves the pressing question, “If we are all going to share this space, what can we do?” This question was the birth of the design process. When I came on board to the project, I knew sacrifices were expected to be made. Unfortunately, I was no exception. I had designed the first interior for DOK some ten years ago and was only commissioned under the condition of completely reinventing my own ideas. The first step was therefore based on the motto Kill your darlings. Killing your darlings means letting go of your favorites; the trusted solutions that are your comfortable go-to, time and time again.
The only way out was in.
Your darlings are convenient; tested and approved over and over. The only problem with your darlings is that they end up killing your creativity. They are your ‘pizza margherita’ of concepts: always a safe choice, but also bland and boring because you’ve ordered it so many times. To be able to reinvent yourself, one needs to be able to kill one’s darlings. This project called for a bloodbath. After all parties got rid of the ideas they had held on to for so long, a fresh approach became possible. We decided the building should not be segregated by schools or libraries – the value was in the mix.
Bloodbath turned soup
The overall idea was minestrone; a soup based on throwing all ingredients in your kitchen together, a delicious mix of it all. With art, music, and a library already supplied, we just needed one more reason for people to stay. The fourth ingredient of the soup was gastronomy: a kitchen run by a professional cook, as well as a local hobby chef who loves sharing his knowledge and passion for food with the visitors. The rooms were allocated to encourage movement throughout the building; kids practicing ballet would not have their dressing room adjacent, but a bit further, allowing tutus to float through the common space while others are reading or eating. By trying to mix as interestingly as possible, we created interaction and an active atmosphere – a classic third place for all, helping create a vivid city.