The Hive
The Hive Worcester Library

The Hive is the successful culmination of a groundbreaking partnership between Worcester County Council and the University of Worcester to create a fully integrated public and university library. This is an idea completely new to the UK and highly innovative internationally. The Hive is also home to the county archives and record office, a local history centre, and the county’s archaeology service.

This hub for the city and the university’s communities was conceived as a truly accessible building. Designed as a ‘social landscape’ it provides horizontal and vertical connections, allowing every user to move around every part of the building freely.  

Key Information

Sector: Mixed Use, Higher Education, Arts & Culture

Client: University of Worcester / Worcestershire County Council

Location: Worcester

Completion: January 2012

Size: 11,600 sqm NIA

The Hive is a stunning success. Britain's first university and public library is brilliant for our students while attracting and inspiring people throughout Worcestershire.

Prof. David Green, Vice-Chancellor University of Worcester

Children's Library at the Hive inhabited wall in use

A book for everyone.

Since its opening, there has been a 500 per cent increase in people signing up as members, compared to the old Library. Book borrowing has been up by 10 per cent.


The Hive was designed to meet a challenging sustainability brief, including a 50% reduction in operational CO2 emissions. The building is cooled using water from the nearby River Severn, and a biomass boiler uses locally sourced woodchip to generate heat. By incorporating sustainable measures such as these, The Hive achieved an ‘A’ rating from the EPC and BREEAM Outstanding.

Since it opened it has been continuously monitored to reveal that it operates at an electrical energy consumption of 50kWh·m-2 year-1, about half of its design target (and one third to one quarter that of many contemporary office buildings).

It is a testament to the strength of a collective vision pursued by the client, design and contractor teams working collaboratively to create a high performing low carbon building. 

To finish such a complex and outstanding building on time and on budget showed that by working together our industry can achieve some really great things.

Peter Parkes, Head of Property Services, Worcestershire County Council


The unmistakable roof is formed from a series of irregular laminated timber roof cones, bring natural light and ventilation into the building. We used an innovative parametric system that we developed in-house to model the roof. This gave us the tools to explore the materials we used. By using cross laminated timber for the structure, we were able to remove 250 tonnes of steel in the roof. This saved 2,000 tonnes of CO2 compared with a concrete or steel alternative.

Externally, the roof is clad in copper alloy diamond shingles, creating a long-lasting shimmering facade that creates a beacon for learning in Worcester city Centre.  


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Galliford Try Construction
Structural Engineer
Hyder Consulting ( UK) Lttd / Atelier One
M&E Engineer
Max Fordham LLP
Landscape Consultant
Grant Associates
Access Consultant
All Clear Designs
Cladding Consultant
Montresor Partnership
PFI Client
Galliford Try Investments
Planning Supervisor
Arcadis AYH
Hufton+Crow, Ashley Mayes for WCC, WCC

FCBStudios Team Leads

Andy Couling


RIBA Sustainability Award
SCONUL Library Design Awards : Libraries over 2,000m²
Guardian University Award: Contribution to the Local Community
RIBA National Award
RIBA Regional Sustainability Award
BCI Award: Sustainability
Building Awards: Sustainability Project of the Year
Civic Trust Award
RICS Awards (Regional East Midlands): Community Benefit Award
RICS Awards (Regional East Midlands): Design and Innovation Award
Partnerships Awards: Best Sustainability in a Project
Bentley Be Inspired: Innovation in Generative Design: First Prize