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Quiet Garden

By Geert Roels, 2021, license CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0

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Quiet Garden

Modernist Ornament

A place where collections are stored and people come to study requires tranquillity. That is provided by the Quiet Garden, which is visible from every corner of the Boekentoren.

Quiet Garden

By Geert Roels, 2021, license CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0

A courtyard garden separates the Boekentoren from the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. The ‘Blandijn’ was built around 1960 by Eugène Delatte, an assistant of van de Velde.

The Quiet Garden stands out because of Karel Aubroeck’s De Runenleesster (‘The Rune Reader’, 1950), its modernist ornamentation and the geometry of the water basin, which is a reflection of the Belvedere. But even more striking is what is located under the Quiet Garden: an Underground Depot.

The Quiet Garden cannot be entered. In the Study Area and Reading Room for Journals, the calming verdant view through the large windows contributes to the pleasant ambience. From its terrace with an awning, the Hall Henry van de Velde, enjoys a magnificent vista of the Quiet Garden.

ca. 1950

High poplars

A characteristic of Van de Velde’s designs is the integration of works of art. During the period that he worked in Germany, he realised buildings and interiors tailored to a sculpture or a painting. Landscape, is another factor. Van de Velde had drawn slender, tall poplars for this courtyard as a vertical contrast to the horizontal facades.

Walter De Mulder photographed the poplars planted in the 1940s, waving in the silhouette of the Boekentoren. They were probably harvested in the 1960s. The restoration by Robbrecht and Daem architects has replanted the row of trees according to the original design by Van de Velde. Sixty years later they are back, waving.

Inner Courtyard, 1950s

Inner Courtyard, 1950s

By Walter de Mulder, ca. 1950, license CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0

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