© Kristien Daem
What happens to architectural icons as they age? How can the buildings be adapted to current uses and energy standards without compromising their architectural lustre? The Boekentoren (Book Tower) in Ghent is one of the last works by Henry van de Velde (1883–1957) and is a landmark of the Flemish university city. In 1933, the Belgian architect was commissioned to design the central library of the University of Ghent, including its interior, on an elevated site in the city centre. Since its completion in 1954, his 64 m-high concrete tower has served as a symbol of modernity, finding its place in Ghent’s skyline among the city’s three mighty church towers from the Middle Ages.