The New Building

a architect(s)
18 Firm Design Engine Architects Ltd, The Studios, Coker Close, Winchester SO22 5FF
19 Project Architect Richard Jobson
20 Type of project new building
b aims of the new building
21 Short description of the main objectives and purposes of the project The library in the university’s new award-winning John Henry Brookes building opened in February 2014. We wanted to create a new experience for our users by providing a library that would:
- be an inspirational space for study, learning and research
- provide easy access to information resources, both printed and electronic
- be fully IT enabled
- be easy to navigate
- be both welcoming and secure
- provide a range of working space for users: silent, quiet, social, group
- provide an uplifting working environment for LR staff
- facilitate the development of improved services
- take into account the needs of self-service operation

Key to the building’s development was the overall aim to bring together a number of previously distributed services to improve the user experience. The openness and permeability of the design means that library users have easy access to a range of range of other facilities including Careers, Student Central, the Students’ Union, as well as social learning areas, teaching rooms and catering.
c special features
22 Site The building is located on the University's main Headington campus. The north elevation overlooks the main entrance and piazza while the west elevation overlooks adjacent parkland.
23 Architecture The library is an inspiring place for students to study, with lots of light, airy spaces and reading rooms with fantastic views. Vistas and permeability were important elements of the design. So, the library, which has a presence over six floors, wraps around a central atrium which is given over to a multifunctional social learning space and café. This area, called the Forum, extends the learning spaces which thread through the library.

The general collections sit on the upper floors where students can choose from a variety of quality learning spaces, with access to university PCs or power sockets for their mobile devices (all spaces have power sockets and wi-fi is pervasive).There are student presentation rooms, equipped with the same IT provision and book visualisers as in the teaching rooms, allowing students to rehearse their presentations in advance.

Part of the library extends across the top of the central lecture theatre, providing an informal area for groups to work in. This area, called the Platform, has specially designed furniture to make working together easier, with large screens, whiteboards, casual seating with views across the Forum, as well as vending machines to keep the students refreshed.

Library offices are located across the floors and support is provided via a HelpZone which includes a coaching area with AV equipment for drop-in tuition or small group introductory sessions. Nearby, a self-service cabinet allows students to borrow Google Chromebooks free of charge.

To optimise space, electronic mobile shelving has been used for some of the general collection but its main success has been in the journals, archive and special collections areas.

Other significant services include two training rooms, a graphics studio with computers and facilities dedicated to design, and an assistive technology suite with tuition areas and one-to-one rooms.