1997, Designed by Eva Jiricna Architects Limited
Due to increasing student numbers and the changing face of information technology, the university became aware of a need to extend the existing library, which was originally built in 1976.
After a feasibility study had been carried out, planning approval was gained in June 1994 following the development of a scheme in consultation with the University, librarians and student bodies. The design attempts to provide clean, light, flexible space in terms of layout, and for the future incorporation of changing technology, and to re-define external public spaces within the library precinct.
The main body of the 4000 m2 extension is open plan study space, suitable for book or terminal based learning, divided over four floors. Book storage remains in the existing building for which it was initially designed. The two areas are linked via a new core in a centralised position. The width of the building maximises the use of daylight via both translucent and clear glass allowing for views out while controlling solar gain by the use of external shading.
The structure of the building is a steel frame on concrete pads with pre-cast concrete floor slabs. A torsion detail at the perimeter allows for a ‘slim floor’ construction. The regular grid and structural system allowed for fast and economic erection. Bracing is provided by concrete shear walls in the cores.
In accordance with the university's environmental policy, a mechanical fresh air system has been selected in association with the pre-cast floor planks as distribution which utilises the mass of the structure for passive cooling to reduce the daily 'flywheel' effect. The ‘Termodeck’ system, used extensively in Scandanavia for efficient heating, can produce a high fresh air input associated with air movement without the need for chiller plants. Background heating is provided by perimeter radiators. Early feed back from the installation indicates extremely efficient performance.
Lighting and data cabling has been integrated for a high degree of flexibility.
The new entry block forms a pavilion and focal point to the external landscape space between two existing buildings. A high degree of transparency gives a light airy space for control desk facilities and general circulation. A fabric canopy structure identifies the entrance and provides protection.
The external cladding to the building is a warm grey terracotta tile acting as a rain screen, giving a crisp modular appearance whilst being sensitive to its environment and context. This German product, while used widely in Europe, was first used in the U.K. on this project.
The landscaping scheme is an extension of the established design for the neighbouring engineering building, with additional soft landscaping around the base of the new extension including new trees on the adjoining street. Disabled provisions have been considered at all stages, both internally and externally, to allow easy use of all areas of the building.