Lancaster University Library
Image: Sheppard Robson

The renovation project, due to start July with completion anticipated in January 2016, will regenerate the Library in line with Lancaster University’s status as a leading University.  

The original East Building, which dates from 1967, will be stripped back to its structural concrete frame and completely refurbished.

The work will also include phased refurbishment to bring the West Building (an extension added in 1997) up to the same exceptional standard.

Designing for formal and informal learning

“Extensive consultation with the academic community at Lancaster generated remarkably consistent feedback that users valued their Library as a unique, serious academic study space,” says the University’s Director of Facilities Mark Swindlehurst.

“The design will deliver 1200 high-quality study spaces, with the emphasis being on formal and informal individual study. Formal group study will be available in 27 enclosed and semi-enclosed rooms. There will also be a postgraduate study suite and a 36-person flexible teaching room. Power and data will be supplied to every study space, with WiFi throughout and AV facilities in the larger group rooms.”

Mr Swindlehurst explained there had been a strong emphasis on sustainable innovation and it was the University’s commitment to the environment and to a sustainable future which had inspired the approach towards redesigning the original 1960s building.  

“The design makes use of existing elements and features such as ductwork for air ventilation, which would typically remain concealed, are revealed through the partially exposed ceiling design providing a backdrop for new elements such as the new, energy-efficient LED lighting.”  

A striking 1960s cast concrete staircase, concealed in the original building plan, will now be opened up and made into a central feature of the new library.

Lancaster University Library
Image: Sheppard Robson

A new atrium at the heart of the building

A new atrium, which will provide a calm and tranquil space for students to work , will be created at the heart of the building connecting all three floors of the East building, both physically and visually, by enclosing an existing external courtyard into the building with a glass roof.  

Around the atrium, study spaces have been positioned to benefit from natural daylight and ventilation. Open balconies with integrated study spaces on the upper floors allow users to work in a well-lit, peaceful environment, the primary focus of which comes from the living tree located on the ground floor. The whole effect will be that of a light, peaceful and contemplative space, an academic environment that people will be able to relax in.

Lancaster University Library
Image: Sheppard Robson

Sustainable building, sustainable learning

“Similarly the interior design uses materials that are innovative and visibly sustainable in nature,” added Mr Swindlehurst. “The acoustic ceiling panel is made from 100% natural materials, the carpet is made of 100% recycled nylon and all fabrics are manufactured and dyed in the UK.”

All of the original windows of the East building will be replaced with a higher specification of window which addresses both the inherent thermal performance of the building as well as allowing the users of the Library to control their immediate environment by opening various sections whilst maximising natural daylight.  User-operated blinds offer an added measure of control over any unwanted glare or sunlight and natural ventilation has been employed throughout the design to minimise the project’s carbon footprint enabling a targeted BREEAM rating of Excellent.  

Award-winning architecture practice, Sheppard Robson, is leading the design team in carrying out the internal refurbishment of the Library building.

Partner at Sheppard Robson Alex Solk said: "Collaborating with researchers, students, academics and library staff has enabled us to develop a design that will create a step-change in the learning offer provided by the Library.  Drawing on the latest research in design for higher education, the new library will respond to the needs of all students and staff both using the resources available today and future-proofed to accommodate future learning styles.”

The renovation project, due to start July with completion anticipated in January 2016, will regenerate the Library in line with Lancaster University’s status as a leading University.  
The original East Building, which dates from 1967, will be stripped back to its structural concrete frame and completely refurbished.
The work will also include phased refurbishment to bring the West Building (an extension added in 1997) up to the same exceptional standard.
Designing for formal and informal learning
“Extensive consultation with the academic community at Lancaster generated remarkably consistent feedback that users valued their Library as a unique, serious academic study space,” says the University’s Director of Facilities Mark Swindlehurst.
“The design will deliver 1200 high-quality study spaces, with the emphasis being on formal and informal individual study. Formal group study will be available in 27 enclosed and semi-enclosed rooms. There will also be a postgraduate study suite and a 36-person flexible teaching room. Power and data will be supplied to every study space, with WiFi throughout and AV facilities in the larger group rooms.”
Mr Swindlehurst explained there had been a strong emphasis on sustainable innovation and it was the University’s commitment to the environment and to a sustainable future which had inspired the approach towards redesigning the original 1960s building.  
“The design makes use of existing elements and features such as ductwork for air ventilation, which would typically remain concealed, are revealed through the partially exposed ceiling design providing a backdrop for new elements such as the new, energy-efficient LED lighting.”  
A striking 1960s cast concrete staircase, concealed in the original building plan, will now be opened up and made into a central feature of the new library.
A new atrium at the heart of the building
A new atrium, which will provide a calm and tranquil space for students to work , will be created at the heart of the building connecting all three floors of the East building, both physically and visually, by enclosing an existing external courtyard into the building with a glass roof.  
Around the atrium, study spaces have been positioned to benefit from natural daylight and ventilation. Open balconies with integrated study spaces on the upper floors allow users to work in a well-lit, peaceful environment, the primary focus of which comes from the living tree located on the ground floor. The whole effect will be that of a light, peaceful and contemplative space, an academic environment that people will be able to relax in.
Sustainable building, sustainable learning
“Similarly the interior design uses materials that are innovative and visibly sustainable in nature.” added Mr Swindlehurst. “The acoustic ceiling panel is made from 100% natural materials, the carpet is made of 100% recycled nylon and all fabrics are manufactured and dyed in the UK.”
All of the original windows of the East building will be replaced with a higher specification of window which addresses both the inherent thermal performance of the building as well as allowing the users of the Library to control their immediate environment by opening various sections whilst maximising natural daylight.  User-operated blinds offer an added measure of control over any unwanted glare or sunlight and natural ventilation has been employed throughout the design to minimise the project’s carbon footprint enabling a targeted BREEAM rating of Excellent.  
Award-winning architecture practice, Sheppard Robson, is leading the design team in carrying out the internal refurbishment of the Library building.
Partner at Sheppard Robson Alex Solk said: Collaborating with researchers, students, academics and library staff has enabled us to develop a design that will create a step-change in the learning offer provided by the Library.  Drawing on the latest research in design for higher education, the new library will respond to the needs of all students and staff both using the resources available today and future-proofed to accommodate future learning styles.”