Bristol Uni spends £2.5 million designing new library


By Isaac Haigh, Investigation Correspondent

The University of Bristol has spent £2.5 million on the design of the new library on the existing Hawthorns area, that is yet to get planning approval.

The new library space, to be completed in 2023 - 2024 and yet to be named, will house an Art and Social Sciences library amongst other subjects. 2,000 new study spaces will be created and the building will house approximately 420,000 books and 70,000 journals.

Philip Kent, Director of Library Services at the University of Bristol, said: “We are aiming to create a world-class University Library and Centre for Cultural Collections at the heart of the campus and have appointed award-winning architects Hawkins Brown and Schmidt Hammer Lassen to design a building which reflects our ambition.’

Hawkins Brown and Schmidt Hammer Lassen were chosen after a competition in October 2017. The design process commenced in January 2018 and the design was announced in November 2018.

The view of the new library from Elton Road | Image courtesy of University of Bristol

‘We have worked closely with students and staff in developing the plans to date and have put wellbeing at the heart of the design, with an emphasis on natural light and materials. We held a public consultation on the initial designs in October, with positive feedback from over 200 students, and have been working closely with Bristol City Council to make sure the building works well in its environment.’

We have been working closely with Bristol City Council to make sure the building works well in its environment.

The existing Hawthorns building containing 116 accommodation spaces, 225 twenty four hour study spaces and the Hawthorns cafe will be demolished.

‘Careful planning has been done to mitigate the closure of the Hawthorns. Study space and catering services will be provided within the newly refurbished Senate House, while reallocation of accommodation will be looked at as part of a wider review of university accommodation.’

The building of the new library is a part of the ‘Campus Heart’ program to ‘encompasses a wide range of ambitions’. A garden cafe has already been opened outside the Hawthorns alongside the £4.9 million refurbishments to the Indoor Sports Centre on Tyndal road. The lower floors of Senate House are currently under refurbishment, due to reopen in 2020.  

The whole project is projected to cost £80 million.

Featured image: courtesy of University of Bristol

Do you think the money could have been better spent?


Isaac Haigh

Chemistry PGR, News Investigations Correspondent 19/20