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John Rylands University Library by Austin-Smith; Lord

University of Manchester, 150 Deansgate, Manchester

The practice worked with conservation architect Lloyd Evans Pritchard on this new five-storey extension to the John Rylands Library, which unlocks the original building and its collections. As well as a new public entrance with café and shop, 10,000 linear metres of archive storage, conservation workshop and reading room, the new extension to the John Rylands improves physical and intellectual access to the historic building – designed by Basil Champney between 1888 and 1900 – at all levels.

The carefully composed new extension sits comfortably alongside the historic building, which is rich and ornate. A restrained palette of materials has been selected for the new building, including hand-patinated bronze panels, pre-cast white concrete, slate floors and well detailed solid oak for doors and fitted furniture.

Client: University of Manchester
Contractor: Linford Building Limited
Structural Engineer: Curtains
Services Engineer: Giffords
Contract Value: £10m
Date of completion: May 2007 (occupied)
Gross internal area: 2,500

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