Sustainable new library for Lancaster

The new library at Lancaster University offers technology enabled environment and a striking centrepiece

Students using Lancaster University’s library will now have a unique backdrop to their studies, following the installation of an eight-metre-high Ficus tree inside the building’s newly-created atrium study space. 

The live tree forms the centrepiece of a renovation scheme designed by Sheppard Robson and delivered by Styles&Wood, integrated property service group.

In addition to installing the tree, the 69-week project saw the creation of a flexible, technology-enabled environment offering a range of individual and group work spaces. The team also installed new fixtures and furnishings and reconfigured stairs and lifts across the 14,500 sq m building, to create more intuitive and accessible user experience for students.

The tree sits at the heart of the library

The existing library, situated on Alexandra Square, comprises the original library building constructed in 1967 and an extension added in 1997 to the west. The new design now unites these two structures for the first time, with the focus of the remodelling effort on the original library building. The renewed 24/7 facility reaffirms the library at the heart of the university’s campus, creating spaces befitting one of the top ten universities in the UK.

Mark Swindlehurst, Director of Facilities, Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University now enjoys a resource that reinforces and reflects the University’s reputation as a world-class centre for teaching and research.

“The re-modelled library offers a flexible, inspiring, technology-enabled environment with a range of individual and group work spaces to support different learning styles.

“Our students and staff are delighted with this contemporary facility, which meets the very highest design standards and the modern needs of its users.”

The library offers individual and group study areas

Gideon Levene, head of projects at Styles&Wood, said: “This extensive refurbishment has created a stunning learning environment for Lancaster University’s 13,000 students, with a fantastic talking point as its centre piece. 

“High quality facilities remain a key factor in the race to attract the best candidates.” 

The scheme was designed with sustainability in mind and the completed library, which is often used by more than 40,000 students a week, is on track to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

Alex Solk, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “The completed facility now offers intuitive wayfinding, natural daylight to all study spaces and reaffirms the library’s position in the heart of the campus”. 

www.lancaster.ac.uk