Sheila Silver Library, Leeds Beckett University


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The Sheila Silver library is a hybridized facility which provides a mix of both traditional library book storage, open plan group study spaces, bookable meeting/study rooms and seating areas, silent study rooms and bookable seminar rooms all in close proximity

The Brief

Race Cottam Associates undertook masterplanning and architectural services for a phased remodelling of the University’s central library in order to provide improved facilities.

The Design

Designed to be delivered in phases to reduce disruption to learning, the flexible, contemporary learning concept includes zones for open plan group study spaces, book storage, silent study zones, teaching I.T. labs and associated staff facilities. Each floor has a central printing and resources hub in the middle of the floor plan and a suite of bookable meeting rooms offer open plan spaces for students and staff alike. A rational layout has been developed to maximise natural light into the study spaces, with formal I.T. labs and support areas set in-board to reduce glare on screens. Upgraded lighting and building services ensure a comfortable learning environment.

The Outcome

The scheme was developed from our masterplan for the whole building and applied floor by floor to provide a cohesive interior design strategy throughout. Phased refurbishment of third and second floors were successfully completed over two years, followed by Phase 3 works to the first floor with very positive reviews from staff, students and visitors.