The Brunel Institute building on the dockside next to the SS Great Britain is named after 19th century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Designed by local practice Alec French Architects, the centre is partly housed in the ground floor of the rebuilt Brunel’s Steamship Engine Works and includes the two-storey library built in oak and larch.

It comprises a conservation suite and archive, major reference library, lecture theatre and seminar rooms, education space, teaching offices and a new ticket and reception area serving the whole site.

The archive facility will contain around 45,000 items including objects such as Brunel’s drawing instruments, diaries and sketch books. The archive store is linked to the visitor reception by a curved glazed corridor.