We are delighted to announce that The University of Reading Library has been shortlisted by the AJ Retrofit Awards in the Higher and Further Education category.
The AJ Retrofit Awards celebrate the design expertise behind the renewal and repurposing of existing buildings which is vital to slashing the industry’s carbon footprint.
To be recognised by this particular awarding body means a great deal to us. Refurbishment and creative reuse projects, whilst vital, are often more challenging than new builds. Design solutions require a deeper level of creative thinking to navigate the many set parameters. With the library, we had an ageing building that showed us glimmers of what could be, but it took an expert blend of disciplines and services to unlock the hidden potential.
Back in 2012, the University of Reading’s six-storey library no longer lived up to modern student needs. Built in the 1960s and extended in the 80s, its façade was dated and its main entrance ill-defined. Similarly, the internal layout – deep plan, clutter of structural columns, low floor-to-ceiling heights – required significant work to bring this well-loved, but outdated, building into the 21st century.
The £40m phased refurbishment has resulted in a sustainable, contemporary, inclusive and legible building which supports a hive of activity 24 hours a day. The reconfigured layout simplifies the journeys of books, greatly improves the flow of people throughout the building and provides a huge variety of private and collaborative spaces for learning, teaching and study.
The building is extremely popular. The university community loves the variety of spaces that are on offer from the café, through to the collaborative and technology-led study spaces.
Janis Pich, Director of Estates, University of Reading
The quality of the outcome is testament to not only the vision and values of the University, but to the dedication of the project consultants, principal contractor and their sub consultants.
The interventions will ensure that the library continues to play an essential role in the lives of thousands of students and staff for the next 30 years.
Winners will be announced at AJ Retrofit 2021 Awards which is taking place virtually on 24th February.
Want to delve deeper into this project? Listen to our podcast…
Reinventing a temple of information
What is a library beyond books? Is a building ever finished? And should we ever build new?
Rachel Bell, Bethan Hellings, Ed Davies and staff and students from the library talk us through the University of Reading Library refurbishment, a project which speaks of creative reuse and reinvention at the heart of the University.