The New Building
|18||Firm||Heneghan Peng architects|
|19||Project Architect||Roisin Heneghan & Shih-Fu Peng|
|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 acquisition of the Stockwell Street site and decision to use part of the space to create a new library meant that the library could be given additional and modernised space to meet the study and learning needs of our students and also release space in the old library (The Dreadnought Building) for new activities and refurbishment.
The University organised a 2-stage competition to design its main Library and an Academic building housing the Departments of Architecture & Landscape and Creative Professions & Digital Arts. The brief required an aspirational building while meeting the requirements of staff and students for teaching and research, embracing the local community and sitting easily within the World Heritage Site.
The new building brings the University off campus and into the heart of the town centre with a large library, educational spaces and other cultural activities. It has created a significant increase in footfall and vitality, helping local businesses and creating a truly mixed use town centre.
The building has the dual role of having to both embed itself as a piece of urban fabric to the south while making itself recognizable as a civic entity to the north. Its expression shifts in response to its context, appearing from Nevada St as a series of tightly packed volumes which blend into the streetscape; as one rounds the corner this fabric begins begin to pull apart, revealing the activity within and establishing the university's presence within the town as a space of academic excellence and urban connectivity.
|22||Site||Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich.|
|23||Architecture||The Stockwell Street site is surrounded on two sides by 2-3 storey residential buildings, with the imposing presence of Hawksmoor’s Grade 1 listed St. Alfege Church across the road. To the North, a railway cutting slices through the traditional urban block.
The urban grain is drawn across the site, its dimensions related to natural light penetration, air movement & scale. The grain is further drawn through to the street to create a permeable streetscape.
The library is located to the north establishing a connection to the main university campus in the Old Royal Naval College. Cafe and exhibition spaces line Stockwell Street whilst at the corner opposite Hawksmoor's St. Alfege Church, a slight setback creates a threshold, an entrance to the building and a pause in the street from which to turn with the church as its focus. The library is organised to create a space that visually & spatially interconnects the diverse activities within.
The building is compactly organised being highest on Stockwell Street and stepping down to meet the residences adjacent to its rear. Occupying the stepped roofs are fourteen interlinked teaching gardens which cover an area of about twelve tennis courts, probably Europe’s largest teaching and learning green roof.
The project has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and Secure By Design accreditations. Inclusiveness in a broad sense was at the heart of the project, from opening up the University to the public to the detail of furniture and signage. Planning consent was granted in 2011, construction began in 2012 and the building opened as scheduled in September 2014.