Case BK city

BK city is the name of the Architecture building at Julianalaan 134 in Delft, Netherlands – close to the historical inner city of Delft. This building from the 1920s was transformed into a vibrant, creative student city and research workplace in 2008/2009, after a fire completely destroyed the old building (May 13, 2008) at Berlageweg 1 in Delft, on the south side of the TU Delft campus. The Faculty of Architecture had a new home in less than half a year after the fire, which is still considered unbelievably quick, given the 32.000 m2 gross floor area of BK city. In the next half year two atriums were added to the existing building (+4.000 m2). The whole BK city project was completed within 1 year after the fire.

After being a member of the BK city project team (chair brief team) Alexandra den Heijer wrote many publications about the making of BK city. Alexandra’s book “Managing the university campus” (2011) contains more than 10 pages about BK city (in appendix VI): facts, figures and evaluations so far – and many photos. BK city turned out to be a very special case for her research project: theories and concepts could be tested in practice, ironically at Alexandra’s very own working environment (TU Delft campus, Faculty of Architecture @ BK city).

N.B. See post “The unforgettable fire – 5 years later” for a free download of appendix VI, more information about the fire (May 13, 2008) and ALL PUBLICATIONS of the making of BK city after the fire (as PDFs to DOWNLOAD).

The most downloaded publications in English:
– Heijer, Alexandra den (2009), “The Making of BK City, the ultimate laboratory for a faculty of architecture” in The Architecture Annual 2008/2009, article, Rotterdam, 010 Publishers, released June, 2009, p. 20-25. DOWNLOAD: after the fire – The Making of BK City (AdH) – separate figures: BK city timeline and project organisation
– Den Heijer, Alexandra (2012), “Managing the university campus: exploring models for the future and supporting today’s decisions” in CELE Exchange 2012/2, Paris, OECD, July 2012. DOWNLOAD: CELE Exchange 2012-02 article Alexandra den Heijer

The following link connects to the Faculty of Architecture website, with more general background information, photos and more articles to download:

Video link to “The Making of BK city” on YouTube:

Appendix VI of the book “Managing the university campus” includes more recent evaluations and more strategic (goals/ambitions), functional (use of space), financial (costs) and physical data (m2, energy use), aligning with the campus management theories.

Another movie – made in September 2013 to summarize a course for 1-year-students – also features BK city – our Faculty of Architecture’s building at its best: in use.

In December 2009 a comprehensive 200-page book was published about the year after the fire, also based on 50 interviews with almost all parties involved. A presentation with a preview of the Dutch book “The Making of BK city” can be found by clicking: samenvatting The Making of BK city

BK city - new life for old building
BK city – new life for old building

“The making of BK city – Bouwkunde, een jaar na de brand” (published in December 2009, only available in Dutch – orders via

On June 10, 2011 TU Delft’s president Dirk Jan van den Berg received the EU / Europa Nostra award for project BK city from Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and president of Europa Nostra.

TU Delft’s president Dirk Jan van den Berg receives EU price from Plácido Domingo and Androulla Vassiliou

Project team BK city is proud of the EU award – Alexandra den Heijer (brief), Dennis Cruyen (facilities) and Job Roos (co-ordinating architect)









In April 2011 the BK city project won a European price for cultural heritage (Europa Nostra: (Europa Nostra: and was nominated for the Gulden Feniks (, biennial National Renovation Price).

On YouTube (source Europa Nostra 2011 / cultural heritage award winner BK city):

In 2012, at the AUDE conference in Loughborough, a 9-minute film “Out of the Box” was released, produced by the Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF): “A short film showcasing some European universities and how they are distinguishing themselves with radical architecture, design and branding. To achieve their ambition, many have reinvented the academic workplace.” (text from  The film by Rod McAllister and William Pine includes TU Delft’s case BK city and my ’15 seconds of fame’ … (starting at 2:30 with the sad memories of our unforgettable fire and continuing at 5:50 and 7:50)

The film shows new academic places to work and learn (United Kingdom: University of Greenwich, Ravensbourne College, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Napier University Business School, Loughborough University, Finland: Aalto University, Netherlands: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture / BK city).

More about BK city can be found under PUBLICATIONS (scroll to 2009) or summarized in the post “The unforgettable fire – 5 years later”.

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