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Coffey wins go-ahead for oval rooftop reading room at City University

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Islington Council has approved plans by Coffey Architects for a rooftop extension to the library at City, University of London

Won following an OJEU process last year, the 2,298m² scheme will add a new seventh-floor elliptical reading room to the building in Northampton Square, built in 1970 to designs by Sheppard Robson (then Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners).

The 45m x 17m oval addition, budgeted at around £7 million, will ‘float’ above a renovated column-free library space and feature a central rooflight and a glulam timber diagrid façade.

According to the practice, the glulam structure was chosen due to its ‘light-weight, sustainability and prefabrication benefits’ and draws ‘on the materiality of the impressive, mature trees within the Northampton Square gardens’.

Aiming for a BREEAM Outstanding rating, the wider scheme also includes the strip-out and refurbishment of the existing sixth floor, which will be reconfigured to house extra student study areas, staff offices and associated facilities.

Director Phil Coffey said: ’This is a uniquely expressive project, which will give the university and its students a study space they deserve. While bold, the proposals are sensitive to the immediate context, with a focus on bringing in light, geometry and a warm materiality.’

Due to start on site this autumn, the project is one of the practice’s first in the higher education sector. 

Coffey architects level 7 floor plan

Level 7 floor plan

Level 7 floor plan

Project data

Location Northampton Square, Islington, London EC1
Type of project University/higher education/library
Client City, University of London
Architect Coffey Architects
Planning consultant Gerald Eve
Structural engineer Curtins
Façade Engineer Arup Facades
M&E consultant Couch Perry Wilkes
Quantity surveyor Woodley Coles
CDM adviser Jackson Coles
Main contractor Morgan Sindall
Start on site expected Autumn 2019
Completion expected Autumn 2020
Gross internal floor area 2,298m²

Co1901 pp city university library view15

Co1901 pp city university library view15

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