After conducting a feasibility study, the University of Birmingham was faced with the realisation that their existing library building, dating back to the 1950’s, could not be refurbished to the standards the university sets itself to offer their students and researchers state-of-the-art learning facilities.
The decision was made to build a brand new library that would be a contemporary addition to the campus. The new library would sit in the centre of the campus and the existing library would be demolished to form part of a new open space concept.
The brief for the new building called for a technology-rich space with “a variety of learning spaces to cater for different modes of study”. The space should be inspirational and welcoming, with lots of natural light, knowledgeable staff, access to “essential texts” and IT support.
“My expectations have just been blown away…as you look around you see students using all of the different spaces, working together and working individually…I couldn’t have asked for more”
Diane Job, Director of Library Services
The 55,000sf building is “tailor-made to suit modern users’ needs and houses a variety of learning spaces to cater for different modes of study” according to the university website.
A complimenting mix of flexible group configurations and individual study areas provides the perfect balance, whether students require a bustling communal space or a private space in which to concentrate.
A key part of the design brief was technology. The university required power to be available for each student. Working with furniture supplier Broadstock furniture manufacturer Orangebox, OE was able to offer a broad array of power options for the library.
The desked study areas include power units placed directly into the desktops. In the atrium and open spaces, more casual soft-seating was used and OE was able to integrate units into the underside of the sofas and armchairs, ensuring each student has access to a mix of standard power sockets and USB charging outlets.