University of Roehampton
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.
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.
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.
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.
2018 RIBA National Award
2018 RIBA London Award
2018 New London Architecture: Education - commended
Cost Consultant and Project Management:
Gardiner & Theobald
Structural, Acoustic and Services Engineers:
Jeremy Gardner Associates
David Bonnett Associates
Hufton and Crow