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A place to learn, a place to be – new library for University of Bristol wins planning approval

The New University Library (NUL) is designed in collaboration with fellow architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen and engineers Buro Happold.

Hawkins\Brown spoke with the University’s staff and students, listened to local residents and neighbours, and engaged with Bristol City Council and the wider community to design a building that will benefit all those who live, learn and work in Bristol.

Situated at the corner of Elton Road and Woodland Road, the Library will be a new landmark at the centre of the University of Bristol’s Clifton Campus and offer world-class academic facilities. With approximately 2,000 new study seats, 420,000 books and 70,000 journals, the library will foster innovation in teaching, improve student attainment and champion new research partnerships.

This inspirational new landmark for Bristol will provide world-class facilities in an inclusive and welcoming environment. The new library building has the potential to transform the relationship between the University of Bristol and the wider city, extending a welcome to the public and acting as a gateway to the revitalised Clifton Campus

A contemporary nod to Bristol’s architectural heritage.

The ground floor will be open to all – a permeable public space that can be adapted for events and exhibitions. A wider redesign of the surrounding street layout and public realm will enhance accessibility and establish the building as a gateway to the University precinct, welcoming both the communities of the University with the wider city. The upper floors will be dedicated to staff and students for study and research.

Large scale picture windows are arranged in a regular rhythm across the façade, expanding and contracting to reveal and animate the internal activity of the building as well as provide views across the surrounding townscape and city centre to the south.

Clad in natural limestone and arranged with vertical emphasis, the building respectfully but playfully references Bristol’s perpendicular gothic style.

An enjoyable, safer and more accessible area for everyone.

A warm, welcoming arrival will be provided by a new pedestrianised civic square between the NUL and the refurbished Senate House, while also better connecting the area with Royal Fort Gardens.

With a shared vision for sustainability, new road layouts will improve public transport and traffic flow, enhancing pedestrian and cycling routes. The library has been designed to achieve a BREEAM “Excellent” rating.

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