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Sheppard Robson unwraps £28m revamp of Hull Uni library

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Sheppard Robson has released these photographs of its recently completed remodelling of the Brynmor Jones library at the University of Hull


The 16,000 m2 project refurbished the library’s two buildings – the original 1956 Art Deco-styled building and its eight-storey Brutalist addition.

The scheme has added a new four-storey central atrium to connect the two buildings alongside a new main entrance connecting the library with the surrounding public realm.

Created within a brick colonnade, the new entrance has been designed to ‘mediate’ between the 1960s Brutalist building and the surrounding smaller-scale structures.

The revamp also includes a 2,500m2 welcome space, an 80-seat café, a gallery, exhibition hall.

On the first floor, the original large open spaces of the library building have been opened up, while in the centre of the original Art Deco part of the building a suite of heritage rooms named after the poet Philip Larkin have been created.

Brynmor Jones Library by Sheppard Robson

Brynmor Jones Library by Sheppard Robson

Source: Hufton + Crow

Architect’s view

The brief was to create a library for the 21st Century and move forward the agenda for university libraries, which had been through a period of rapid change over the last decade. This open brief was supplemented by a rigorous audit of the university’s requirements: this looked at the challenges of the existing space and how it impeded interaction between students and staff as well as how insensitive alterations to the fabric of the building hindered the previous wayfinding strategy.

The brief quickly expanded to include ways of merging traditional library services with spaces for interactive and informal learning. This also included delivering a design that encapsulates the mature and established reputation that the university has for research, creating dedicated areas for postgraduate students. This all had to be achieved whilst keeping the library fully operational, with no book or resource unavailable throughout the entire construction phase of the project.

Brynmor Jones Library by Sheppard Robson

Brynmor Jones Library by Sheppard Robson

Source: Hufton + Crow

Project data

Location Hull, UK
Type of project University Library
Client University of Hull
Architect Sheppard Robson
Structural engineer Arup
M&E consultant Arup
Quantity surveyor Gleeds
Planning supervisor Gleeds (CDMC)
Lighting consultant Arup (Part of M&E role)
Main contractor BAM Construction Ltd North East
Funding University of Hull
Tender date July 2012
Start on site date December 2012
Completion date February 2015
Contract duration 114 weeks (Construction time Dec 12 – Feb 15)
Gross internal floor area 16,000m2
Form of contract and/or procurement SBC/XQ 2011 (Traditional)
Total cost £28 million


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