Jubilee Library

This project was won through a competitive PFI bid with our client Mill Group/Norwich Union, supported overwhelming by the Local Authority and the public (it won more votes that the other two competitors combined). The design was undertaken in collaboration with Bennetts Associates.

Rare amongst PFI projects, it was permitted to cross-subsidise the public sector element (the Library) with the private (the rest of the development). This provided more money for the Library which was further enhanced by an architectural diagram that gained an extra floor of development across the site in a Conservation Area by judicious use of the levels. It also placed the Library within the masterplan with only 2 elevations, ensuring cost savings for an end product that belies the fact it was constructed within the constraints of a tight budget and PFI process.

The Library adopts a formal plan with activities that require enclosure around the perimeter on three sides and the double-height main reading room/reference library in the centre with its elegant double vaulted structure, where it strikes up a direct relationship with the square outside. The engineering of the building meticulously supports the architectural idea through to the articulation of detail and the very low energy environment, expressed by the wind towers at roof level, integral to the ventilation system, that add to the rich skyline of this part of the City next to the Dome and Pavilion. The Library has presence, but is also welcoming, and is also a place of repose befitting its use.

The Library, as a set piece of architecture and as part of a successful regeneration project has received widespread local and national acclaim reinforced by numerous awards.