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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Library architect admits "Practical Jokes" in building

by Wagril Slane

image courtesy of Jake Roslin

The renowned designer of the Sir Duncan Rice Library, Henrik das Bleistift von Schadenfreude, has revealed in his newly published memoir I Was A Very Naughty Architect that he deliberately added design quirks into the university’s £20 billion landmark building “because I was bored, and I don’t like students very much”.

The shock revelations include his having “used jet engines to power the toilet flush mechanisms in order to deafen anyone nearby”, “installing infra-red detectors that ensure empty lifts depart just as a student approaches” and “creating an electromagnetic induction field within the building’s steel frame which prevents PCs rebooting in under ten minutes”. Bleistift also designed the chairs for evening security staff to be especially uncomfortable, in order to make them as disgruntled and unhelpful as possible.

The now retired head of the international architectural practice Bleistift, Federhalter & Kugelschreiber also admitted that the much-Instagrammed void in the centre of the building was created by mistake. “I accidentally dropped a hard-boiled egg into my balsa wood scale model of the building. Unfortunately the builders started work on the real thing before I had a chance to repair it. Oops!”

Even the lauded geometric pattern on the 2012 building’s facades was a practical joke. “I told the university it represented the molecular structure of granite, or something like that, and they just lapped it up, I couldn’t believe it. They love giving the impression of being in touch with the wider city and heritage of Aberdeen. In fact I just copied the pattern from my Primark duvet cover”.

A spokesperson for the university’s press office told The Gaudie, “I suspect once again you are wasting our time but nevertheless we can confirm that the library was in fact designed by the acclaimed architects Lyijykynä, Kynä & Kuulakärkikynä and we have no knowledge of anyone involved being called ‘Henrik das Bleistift von Schadenfreude’, which sounds very much like a made up name to me. The pattern on the glass facade is definitely something to do with granite and the lavatories are extremely ecological, which is why they are always so grubby looking. And very few students, relatively speaking, have been permanently deafened by them. But you’re right about the hard-boiled egg, yes”.


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