School of Pharmacy Library – UCL


Library

The library of the School of Pharmacy UCL is the only dedicated library of Pharmacy in the UK. MBA were selected as architects after an invited competition in 2008 to create humane, accessible and inspiring places for study, research and information exchange. The project involved:
  • Making a new entrance to the library from thee main reception
  • Reorganising the library into zones, acoustically treated to create: entrance and welcome, group study, individual quiet study and book stack areas.
  • Emphasising natural light and using the height of the existing building enclosure to the full.
  • Using active acoustics and multiple layers of acoustically absorbent materials at high level to create an artificial sky, so that sound is contained without fully enclosing the quiet spaces.
  • Introducing new skylights to reduce dependence on artificial light.
  • Purpose-designed furniture including the entrance workstations, reception desks, study carrells and acoustic screens to provide areas for group study.
The solution deploys some nice acoustic and architectural techniques conceiving the whole library as a landscape and soundscape of the learning mind, reception, quiet study, group study, book stacks, all connected. The first thing was to remove all unnecessary obstruction to height and light, introducing new... Read more.

Library

The library of the School of Pharmacy UCL is the only dedicated library of Pharmacy in the UK.

MBA were selected as architects after an invited competition in 2008 to create humane, accessible and inspiring places for study, research and information exchange.

The project involved:

  • Making a new entrance to the library from thee main reception
  • Reorganising the library into zones, acoustically treated to create: entrance and welcome, group study, individual quiet study and book stack areas.
  • Emphasising natural light and using the height of the existing building enclosure to the full.
  • Using active acoustics and multiple layers of acoustically absorbent materials at high level to create an artificial sky, so that sound is contained without fully enclosing the quiet spaces.
  • Introducing new skylights to reduce dependence on artificial light.
  • Purpose-designed furniture including the entrance workstations, reception desks, study carrells and acoustic screens to provide areas for group study.

The solution deploys some nice acoustic and architectural techniques conceiving the whole library as a landscape and soundscape of the learning mind, reception, quiet study, group study, book stacks, all connected.

The first thing was to remove all unnecessary obstruction to height and light, introducing new natural light and ventilation, in key tactical locations..

Connecting the library entrance to the the main entrance of the building, radical, difficult to achieve, obvious in retrospect, involves rehabilitating a passage into the library through a previous extension, which is deliberately reverberant, to make people self conscious of their own sound and modify their behaviour as they enter the library.

Concave study carrells: soft on the inside, hard,slick and and natural oak on the outside, with floating acoustic ‘clouds’ the sky absorb everything above and this cloudy ceiling creates an artificial acoustic ‘sky’ above the study area, supported by a system of speakers and “pink noise” chaotic fountain noise to engineer privacy on the rare occasions when the passive design is over-stretched.It works well in practice and has been nominated for a SCOLA award in 2013.

MBA have now completed four projects for the School of Pharmacy, a new computer centre, a cycle store next to the Coram Foundation, and offices for the dean and COO, within their site at Brunswick Square.

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Dates
2009
Location
London, UK

Project Architect
Marcus Beale
Job Architect
James Donlon
Contractor
Parkeray Ltd
Project Management
Davis Langdon
Services Engineers
Thornley and Lumb
Structural Engineers
Scott Wilson