The Library, constructed in the mid-1960s, forms the academic heart of the University and occupies a central location in its wonderful parkland setting at the foot of the Ochils.
Our challenge was to revitalise the building and make it fully fit to meet the requirements of a 21st Century learning environment, all within a tight programme, with services to students, staff and visiting academics being maintained throughout the works. The scheme included a small extension to better integrate the library with the Atrium and adjacent MacRobert Arts Centre which, together, form the social and circulatory hub of the University.
Lewis & Hickey interventions have clarified and enhanced internal spaces and circulation; the perimeters have been opened out as far as practicable to allow natural light into the deep plan and a new central Atrium has both reinforced this intention and visually unified levels vertically.
A clean and restrained aesthetic aimed at longevity has been applied; this is punctuated at judicious intervals with telling insertions of transparent and solid colour to enliven and inform passage through the interior.
The net result is an effective demonstration of the capacity of good design to be transformative within a constrained – and in this case tapering – budget.
Staff have uniformly expressed delight at their new environment…”It’s hard to believe that it’s the same building, it’s the type of Library we might normally visit as exemplar” “It looks like a completely new building standing under the light well”, “Light and airy. The students will love it”