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University of Bristol New Library

A forever institution

Our Arts and Social Sciences library will be the centrepiece of the University’s new Campus Heart masterplan and the community.

The University of Bristol is investing heavily in its future student study experience. The library fits into a wider masterplan that will usher in the next era, reaching out to an increasing number of new students, researchers and academics. It will strengthen the University’s ability to provide high quality study spaces, programmes, events and services: a place to meet, read, think, research, share, create new ideas and make discoveries.

At the gateway to the campus, poised on the brow of a hill, the library sits between the Victorian villas of neighbouring residential streets and civic and institutional buildings like the Senate House. Its dynamic stepping form, rising from three to seven storeys, handles the change in scale beautifully. Its natural limestone cladding, arranged vertically like its window fins, nods to Bristol’s extensive collection of landmark buildings.

The ground floor, with its large picture windows, is a welcoming, permeable, publicly accessible space hosting events and exhibitions that link the communities of the University with the wider city.

We consulted with students and staff to define a variety of interior spaces where students can either work in a social, collaborative or private manner. A palette of natural materials and colours derived from the local landscape promotes wellbeing. Views out of the building create a strong focal point and a variety of furniture solutions support different ways of working.

The library will be the centrepiece of a new city square. New surrounding road layouts will improve traffic flow, enhance walking and cycling routes and making the surrounding public spaces more enjoyable, safer and accessible for everyone.

The new University Library will provide world-class state-of-the-art library facilities for our staff, students and visitors. It will support the learning of generations of future students and cutting-edge research into our most significant societal challenges.

Project details

Project name: University of Bristol New Library

Location: Bristol, UK

Services: Briefing and estates optimisation, Digital design

Value: £50M – £100M

Scope: Architecture, Interior design

Clients: University of Bristol

Status: Live

Collaborating architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Interior design: Hawkins\Brown and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Structural and civil engineer: Buro Happold

MEP and sustainability/ fire/ acoustics: Buro Happold

Landscape architect: Grant Associates

Transport: Arup

Planning consultant: CSJ

If you want to know more about our civic, community & culture work, contact Adam Cossey