The Courtyard Infill Project has seen the creation of a six-storey steel-framed archive store installed in an irregular triangular void – a former courtyard - surrounded on three sides by existing library buildings.

The new block has increased the library's shelving capacity by 11,050 linear metres, thanks in part to the installation of high density mobile shelving - or roller racking - supplied by Bruynzeel Storage Systems.

A shared archival space

undefinedNational Library of Wales

The six floors of the completed infill building are to be shared between the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, who will move archive material to the library from their existing home in Aberystwyth.

Architectural firm DarntonB3 Architecture won the contract to design the building, which has been constructed while the library remained in full operation and occupation. The construction brief went to main contractor WRW, one of the leading construction and development companies in mid and south Wales.

The requirement for the library to remain open throughout the build meant that all construction materials had to be brought in through a single doorway. In addition to the issue of access, the irregular floor plate of the new build set a number of challenges for the installers.

A bespoke project

Shelving manufacturer Bruynzeel Storage Systems, which won the contract to supply static and space-saving roller racking to the new library building, had to create bespoke fittings for the project. Each length of track for the mobile shelving needed to be individually tailored, as every aisle length is unique due to the triangular shape of the infill.

The construction of the new build follows the structure of the surrounding buildings with the exception of the top floor, which will rise above the surrounding rooftops to create extra capacity.

Inside, Bruynzeel has supplied plan chests, shelving for octavo, quarto and folio books, mesh frames to store artwork and roller racking for the storage of archive boxes and materials.

“This was an extremely challenging project due to the very short timescale, the shapes of the areas and the different requirements for each floor level,” said Richard Tong, project manager for Bruynzeel Storage Systems. “Our specialist design team rose to the challenge and delivered a high quality system, responding to the unique demands of the client and the space.”