University of Roehampton Library
In Brief

University of Roehampton


Construction value: 

August 2017

The new Library at the University of Roehampton is the centrepiece of an ambitious campus masterplan and characterised by a generous park and garden landscape that makes it unique among London’s universities.

The aspiration was for an enduring architecture: a library building with gravitas and longevity. This is achieved through a clear architectural language; the colonnade activating the landscape and lake, the piano nobile floors and deeply recessed upper storey. This is continued with a simple palette of high quality materials; externally focussed around masonry and reveal, internally the weaving of expressed pre-cast concrete structure and oak linings. 

The new Library delivers over 1,200 study spaces, staff support and work areas, specialist digitisation and collection management over five floors and 7,840sqm. It fulfils a number of specialist functions focussed around the University’s education and teaching, and celebrates the rich history of the four Colleges that form the University through fixed exhibition spaces.

Study spaces within the Library are intended to support a variety of group sizes and work intensities, from individual silent study to medium sized group collaboration, while making use of visual connections to the garden landscape. Internally the building is arranged around large and small atria that allow the spaces to interconnect in a clear, intuitive way. 

Take a tour of the Library in this film

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"The new university library successfully creates many joyful places within a strict and meticulously constructed architecture that succeeds in locating the individual within the building but also the individual within the wider campus."
RIBA National Awards Judges citation 2018
"The new library has transformed the learning experience for our students and footfall has increased by 45% since September 2017"
Paul O'Prey, Vice Chancellor, University of Roehampton
"Students love the new library and the size of the building means there's always space for study. It has quickly become a hub of activity, blending in so well to the natural beauty of campus and transforming the student experience."
Jack De France, Roehampton Students' Union President 2016-18
"Students have been instrumental in the design and build of the new Library over the last four years, telling us what they need and how they work"
Susan Scorey, University of Roehampton Librarian
"The success of the library arises from the impressive concentration of thought that has marshalled all the details in keeping alive the main organising power of the grid."
Pascal Madoc-Jones, Architecture Today June 2018
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The four Colleges of the University have a distinguished history, particularly in the field of childhood studies, theology and education, and the Library houses their collection of over 300,000 volumes. 

The new Library building creates a new identity for the University, addressing the entrance to the campus as well as connecting the Digby Stuart and Southlands Colleges.

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Study Spaces
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With the books occupying the core of the main library volume, the study spaces are arranged to take in the light and view, and to wrap around the various atria that weave through the building.
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University of Roehampton Library is designed to be a passive building in energy and comfort terms, with highly insulated façades, high levels of airtightness and roofs supported by a thermally activated building slab (TABS) system installed into the concrete soffits.

The building also has a roof-mounted 3.5kW photovoltaic array and connection to a combined heat and power unit that also supplies the neighbouring Elm Grove residential and conference centre.

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A key part of the project was the extensive use of prefabricated elements, which was particularly relevant and successful given the Library’s location at the centre of an active campus.

Use of prefabrication enabled a shortened site construction period, reduced disruption to the surrounding University and improvements in finish quality. The project utilised pre-cast concrete for both the primary structural frame and external cladding, and large parts of the internal timber linings. 

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Selected Awards

2018 RIBA National Award

2018 RIBA London Award

2018 New London Architecture: Education - commended

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Cost Consultant and Project Management:
Gardiner & Theobald
Structural, Acoustic and Services Engineers:
BREEAM Assessor:
Fire Engineer:
Jeremy Gardner Associates
Access Consultants:
David Bonnett Associates
Landscape Architect:
Gross Max
Communication Design
Main Contractor:
Hufton and Crow


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