Information Commons 07

Soft seating on Level 3 with a view of the central atrium

Information Commons 06

Level 1 open plan study space with mirror lights

Information Commons 05

One of the IC's ten group study rooms

Information Commons 03

Silent study space and internal acoustic cladding

Information Commons 02

E elevation showing copper cladding and northlights

Information Commons 01

External view of main entrance

Information Commons 04

Level 4 open plan study space



Jointly conceived and operated by the University Library and the University's IT services, the Information Commons has become the principal library for undergraduates in the University Library system.

The brief emphasised the development of an integrated learning environment for students, highlighting flexibility, variety and accessibility of study places.

The building features a highly distinctive external form, clad principally in prepatinated copper and terracotta. It has a concrete frame, and uses the innovative Cobiax (Bubbledeck) semi-precast system for floor slabs.

Particular attention has been paid to acoustics and lighting. The IC includes a 200-seat silent study space, and features extensive natural lighting.

RFID technology is used for the bookstock, with automated book return sorting.

The building is available 24/7 to students and staff of the University of Sheffield. It is not open to members of the general public.


RIBA award 2008, RIBA White Rose Gold Prize for Architecture 2008, RIBA White Rose Building of the Year 2008, Construct Award for Innovation and Best Practice,, Connstruction Products Association Awards-Innovation Award, , Building Magazine Sustainability Award (Runner up), RIBA/Sheffield Civic Trust Sheffield Design Awards, Building of the Year, 2009

The Building

The Building

Type of library

Central/Main library/LRC


11500 m2




RMJM London Ltd

Building contractor

BAM Construct UK Ltd

The Space

The Space

Features and services

Special services

Audiovisual/Multimedia areas, Cafe/refreshment areas, Equipment provision, Group study spaces, Public address system, Teaching rooms

External features


Internal features

Design features, Structural

Energy efficiency


Accessibility provision


Interior designer


Furniture suppliers

Broadstock Office Supplies

Services and facilities suppliers


IT provision

Electronic information displays, Internet access, Laptop points, Public access terminals, RFID, Self service circulation, WiFi, Number of public computer terminals: 550

Seats/study places