The Library redevelopment at John Princes Street was completed just in time and opened for the start of the new academic year despite an extremely short lead time for all concerned. Our designs and intentions have mostly been realised, it is satisfying to see students working in the space as though it was always there. There are now a variety of study zones for students to work as they choose; individually or collaboratively, quietly or conversationally in one of the media pods. So far the students say they love the space but with one main problem, and its not a new one, the Library is still not big enough to accommodate all those who want to work here. Importantly, the Library staff are happy with the refurbishment and feel they can now support students in a much improved space.
These professional photographs were taken for the University Library Service by Ana Escobar.
1st floor reception area has new soft seating and group study tables, with the two main collection areas complete with new shelving.
This seat underneath the new staircase is ideal for someone to escape too, previously it was a poorly utilised area that no one wanted to use.
Leading from the 1st floor is a brand new glass and steel staircase with integral lift to the 2nd floor. This is where we have created media pods, technology desks, a number of group study zones, a beautiful oak table, materials collection, a seminar room and a quiet study room.
The university aimed for a high level of sustainability in the materials used in the refurbishment and in particular, in the furniture manufacture. Key suppliers were sought for their green credentials and an assessment was made under the SKA rating operated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The high-backed sofas create media pods which have become the most popular place to sit, students have asked if they can be booked. In fact only one is a true media pod as the Library were keen to see if the demand existed before investing in more LCD screens and connectivity modules for all three pods.
The large drum lights were an important feature, the 700mm fittings delineate the group study zones and help to give the impression that the ceiling is not just one height throughout. These pods are waiting for the LCD screens to be fitted.
This is the 30 seater collaborative seminar room that has been designed for informal group study work whenever the room has not been timetabled. The tables are ‘plectrum’ shaped to allow students to work together as well as being able to move in order to view the presentation screen. The Cinto seats by Humanscale are becoming a standard, comfortable ergonomics with castors and with the benefit of being stackable.
This image shows the technology bench system with a group study table in the foreground complete with desktop power module.
This area has been extensively opened up to create more space and light, but without the call-centre feeling often associated with open plan spaces, we used the new book stacks to create these zones and help with keeping the noise levels down.
In the photograph shown below, the Library Service wanted an additional group study table as opposed to the original design for a fourth media pod/sofa alcove. The remaining media pods do create a screen for this table and are all very popular amongst users.
These images show the key piece of furniture that I wanted to see in the Library, a beautiful large oak table designed for students to work individually. This is likely to be effective without the chairs at either end as shown below, as experience at other libraries shows taht students are more likely to talk.
These last three photos show the quiet study room, which is used extensively by those needing to be able to concentrate without distractions. The room used to be our reprographics space for students to use photocopiers and cut and paste tables.
In November 2013, HRH Sophie Wessex visited the Library as part of her role as Patron of London College of Fashion.