Bristol University reveals plans for ‘landmark’ library

The new seven-storey building will be built at the centre of the campus around a new civic square

The University of Bristol has revealed designs for its “landmark new university library”.

The building will be built on the site of a soon-to-be-demolished halls of residence at the heart of the campus.

The university is located in a historic part of the city with little room for new developments. The library is a striking seven-storey design with space for nearly half a million books. It will include public-facing exhibition galleries, events spaces, a programme of new public art commissions and a community café.

[The library] will also create a new cultural space for all the citizens of Bristol, by opening up our theatre collection and our special collections and offering a year-round programme of exhibitions and activities
– Prof Judith Squires

The university has several faculty libraries, but no central library like at Glasgow University or Cambridge University.

The building will have a green roof terrace and is designed to have a low environmental impact.


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The plans also include a new civic square, with work needed to redesign the road layout. The library will be opposite the university’s senate building which is undergoing refurbishment. The new square will link the two buildings and offer better cycle and pedestrian routes.

Prof Judith Squires, deputy vice-chancellor and provost at the University of Bristol, said: “We are excited to be developing a flagship new university library at the heart of our campus. It will not only provide an outstanding new space for our students and staff to research and learn but will also create a new cultural space for all the citizens of Bristol, by opening up our theatre collection and our special collections and offering a year-round programme of exhibitions and activities.

“We are also seeking to enhance the public realm around the new university library, turning a congested road junction into a calm and welcoming civic space, making the roads safer and creating new accessible public space for everyone to enjoy.”