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First phase of Associated Architects’ Brutalist landmark upgrade completes

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Associated Architects has taken the wraps off the first phase of its refurbishment of the Edward Boyle Library in Leeds


The £17 million project for the University of Leeds has revamped the 1975 concrete modernist building which had previously been extended in 1996. 

The 12,170m2 Edward Boyle Library forms part of a wider group of Brutalist buildings at the University of Leeds all designed by renowned architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. 

The restoration has aimed to enhance and reinforce the building’s original design intent which had been lost over time while also providing a state-of-the-art library.

The library’s book collection has been consolidated and rolling stacks and stores used to improve study spaces and increase light levels within the spaces. 

The building’s top floor has been converted to a post-graduate research suite providing space for visiting scholars and interdisciplinary research groups. 

The scheme’s remaining study spaces are set to complete in January 2017. 

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects

Expert’s view 

The Edward Boyle Library refurbishment is an exciting project showing that change can enhance and strengthen the significance of listed buildings if based on a good understanding of special character and significance. 

The design team’s informed approach was the foundation for the scheme with the new works inspired by their understanding and appreciation of the original design intent and existing structure. 

Motifs, approaches and opportunities have been informed by this deep understanding and the results have strengthened the significance of the building while updating it to face the challenges of the changing approach to education in the 21st century. 

The re-presented building delivers a state-of the-art library and once again reveals the design strength and original concepts of the Chamberlin, Powell & Bon campus buildings that are such an asset to the university. 

Kate Newell, senior conservation officer, Environment and Design Group at Leeds City Council

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects

Project data

Location Leeds
Type of project Higher Education - Library for undergraduates and postgraduates
Client University of Leeds
Architect Associated Architects
Planning/heritage consultant Associated Architects
Structural engineer Curtins
M&E consultant Ramboll
Quantity surveyor EC Harris
Lighting consultant Ramboll
Main contractor Galliford Try
Funding University of Leeds
Appointment Framework
Tender date Feb 2015
Start on site date May 2015
Completion date Dec 2016
Contract duration 74 weeks
Gross internal floor area 12,170m²
Form of contract Design and build
Total cost £24 million (£17 million construction)

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects

Edward Boyle Library by Associated Architects


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