Blaze Destroys Technical University of Delft

Blaze Destroys Technical University of Delft

Jorrit Sipkes

On May 13, the building of the Technical University of Delft, designed by van den Broek and Bakema (1956–70) burned down, leaving approximately 3,600 students and about as many faculty and staff without a place to complete the next three weeks of the summer term.

Jorrit Sipkes

At 13 stories, it was one of the first tall buildings in the Netherlands. Surrounded on one side by a large moat of water that apparently kept the conflagration out of the reach of Dutch fire hoses, the building took about 12 agonizing hours to collapse in a smoldering heap. The cause of the fire is reported to have been a short created by a water leak around a coffee machine. Fortunately no one was injured, but historical collections, in particular of architectural models and chairs, went up in smoke along with all of the office equipment.

Update Friday, May 16

The phoenix of Bouwkunde is rising. The chair collection was saved, and classes are due to begin again on Monday, most likely under tents. Everyone should have a new laptop by then—courtesy of the insurance company.

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