The New Building

a architect(s)
18 Firm Wilkinsone Eyre
19 Project Architect Chris Wilkinson / Chris Donoghue
20 Type of project renovation (Renovation & Extension)
b aims of the new building
21 Short description of the main objectives and purposes of the project The £48 million Forum Project originated in 2007 to provide an innovative, fully integrated, student-facing facility at the centre of the campus interlinking new learning spaces and the Main Library, catering and social facilities together with all key student services including employability, student support services, accommodation and finance.

In terms of the library, the project provides:
25% more shelving space
Dedicated, high quality, research-facing facilities for library users with research-orientated collections close by in the Research Commons (refurbished ‘Old Library’)
More than double the original seating provision during peak use seasons with over 75% of seats provided with mains power and hard-wired network sockets
A completely refurbished study environment conducive to the broad spectrum of user requirements
Double the original PC provision, numerous power sockets and pervasive wifi throughout
Additional automated entrance and exit

Key drivers for the library part of the project included:
Cramped accommodation: by 2002 the Main Library was 95% full and we had little room for expansion in other locations. The Main Library was built with 450 seats in 1982 to cater for 6000 students. The university‘s student population currently stands at around 17,000.
Inappropriate spaces: tired and worn décor, poor lighting and ventilation, DDA non-compliant areas, difficult access and layout arrangements, lack of IT provision and power sockets for users. The 1982 design pre-dated personal computing.
Dated facilities: Newer learning styles were poorly supported and many user complaints were received about mobile phones, general noise levels and lack of hot drink availability. There was also considerable pressure on limited multimedia facilities.
Confusing layout: collections were not in numerical Dewey shelf mark order, aisles did not logically flow into each other and uneven collection expansion between 1982 and 2002 had made way-finding a confused business.
c special features

DISABILITY-COMPLIANT: The Forum development fully supports user accessibility. It includes a number of lifts for those with mobility impairment, induction loops at service desks for those with hearing difficulties, approved visual signage as well as four dedicated, bookable accessible study rooms supported with appropriate IT facilities, accessible WCs on each floor and voice alarm systems.

BREEAM EXCELLENT RATING: The environmental impact of the Forum building was minimised through design and methodology. Construction materials have been re-used and recycled where possible and Green Guide ‘A’ rated materials incorporated at every opportunity.

Biodiversity on campus was monitored throughout the build and extensive measures taken to anticipate the effects of the development on the local ecology, wherever possible rare plants and trees were moved or carefully protected.

The building fabric and glazing used in the Forum has achieved a level of thermal performance 10% better than that required by building regulations. This will deliver a serious reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions.
The development provides over a hundred extra cycle spaces, plus showers and lockers, to promote cycling and walking to campus, and the new piazzas create a more pedestrian focus.

Recycling bins have been placed in strategic locations around the forum building to facilitate a sustainable waste strategy and a composter has been brought onto site to provide organic waste processing services for the whole campus with up to 3500 litres of organic waste to be converted into compost every week and used to keep the luscious grounds at the University looking their best.